Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government moving towards a rollout of thrombectomy treatment
A charity campaign to ensure life-changing treatment is available to Scots is on the brink of success.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed in the Scottish Parliament this week that she expects the specialised stroke treatment thrombectomy will be available to some patients in Scotland in 2020. This would be the start of a phased implementation of a national service, with the ambition to have three specialist centres established.
Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland has been campaigning for the Scottish Government to Bring Back Thrombectomy, after a very limited service was withdrawn in 2018.
The charity has argued thrombectomies give people the best chance of living without disability and dependency after a severe stroke, and should be available to an estimated 600-800 stroke patients each year in Scotland. In the treatment, which is described as ‘dyno-rod for the brain’, the blood clot causing the stroke is physically removed from the brain.
MSPs Bob Doris and Monica Lennon quizzed the Health Secretary about what progress the Scottish Government and NHS have made, highlighting the example of stroke survivor Norrie Jenkins, 76 years old, from Glasgow who experienced a stroke on holiday this summer in Majorca. Because he was in Spain and not at home Norrie was able to receive a thrombectomy, and his partner Annie Andrews is concerned that stroke patients in Scotland don’t currently have the same opportunity.
She said: “I firmly believe that without thrombectomy treatment Norrie may have been paralysed for life and left unable to speak. Our family is one of the lucky ones and that just isn’t fair.
“The care for stroke survivors in Scotland used to be considered one of the best in the world – it was the epitome of healthcare. But now we seem to be lagging behind many other countries including England and Northern Ireland.
“It’s an absolute outrage and it must change.”
Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland chief executive, Jane-Claire Judson, said: “This announcement is positive progress. We are now clearer on the timescale when we will start to see this life-changing procedure available to Scottish patients.
“However, there is still a long way to go. We need to make sure there are no more delays and that the three centres across the country are up and running quickly.
“The Cabinet Secretary’s announcement today happened because of inspirational stroke survivors campaigning for change. The campaign will not stop until a thrombectomy is available to everyone who needs it in Scotland.
“This treatment is a game-changer for stroke patients and Scotland still needs to play catch-up after falling far behind many other countries in our stroke treatment.”