Officials sound alarm on ambulance stroke response times

HSJ has seen a report on stroke services by the NHS England Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) programme that recommends modelling the impact of a change to the categorisation by ambulance services of suspected strokes.

The report notes that the time between symptom onset and arrival at hospital has increased by 41 minutes over the last seven years. Fast access to emergency stroke care gives a better chance of survival and reduces the impact on quality of life for survivors.

Strokes are currently treated as “category two” incidents, meaning they should get a response within 18 minutes. However, patients are currently experiencing much longer waits, as average response times were more than three times this in March. Since the introduction of the current system of categorisation in 2017-18, the 18 minute target for category two calls was only ever hit for a few months, at the height of the covid pandemic, when call-outs were abnormally low.

Full story in HSJ, 4 May 2022