Sign our Open Letter to UK Government

Thrombectomy saves brains, saves money and changes lives. It’s one of the most effective medical interventions ever discovered. But most people who need this treatment don’t get it. It’s subject to availability.

If you agree that Saving Brains is vital, please sign our Open Letter, by filling in your details in the purple box. The letter calls on UK Government to urgently act on the recommendations in our Saving Brains report.

Read our Open Letter to UK Government

We, the undersigned urge you to make the stroke treatment thrombectomy, available 24/7, for everyone who needs it. Thrombectomy: 

saves brains: It significantly reduces the chance of disabilities like paralysis, visual impairment and communication difficulties after stroke. 
saves money: Thrombectomy would save the health and care system £73 million each year, by reducing demand on rehabilitation and community support.

and changes lives: Universal access to thrombectomy in England would support 1,600 more people to be independent after stroke each year, and thousands more to live with less disability. 

Nearly 80% (5,889) of patients in England who needed a thrombectomy missed out in 2020/21. At that rate, 47,112 people are set to miss out on the treatment by the end of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Despite stroke doctors, nurses, paramedics and their teams working tirelessly under challenging circumstances, provision is patchy. Treatment rates vary from 80% of patients who need it in London to just 0-30% in other parts of England.

At a time when tackling health inequalities is a high priority for the government and NHS, we urge you to work with the stroke community, and act on the recommendations in the Stroke Association’s Saving Brains report. These include:

  1. The Treasury should provide urgent funding for thrombectomy in the Autumn Budget 2022, for infrastructure, equipment, workforce training and support, targeting both thrombectomy centres and referring stroke units. 
  2. The Department for Health and Social Care should develop a sustainable stroke workforce plan in its upcoming workforce strategy, considering all the professionals involved in thrombectomy services.  
  3. NHS England should address the wider system challenges in its upcoming Urgent & Emergency Care Plan, to mitigate ambulance pressures that prevent quick access to thrombectomy. 
  4. Research funders should seek to drive improvements in thrombectomy rates and increase the number of patients who can access it, as per the Stroke Priority Setting Partnership’s findings.

NHS England missed its target for full rollout of this treatment by 2022. The current rate is only just 2.8%. This autumn’s revised NHS Long Term Plan is a vital imperative and opportunity to shift the dial on thrombectomy. The 2029 target simply has to be achieved. Too many future stroke patients depend on it.

I was told I was a candidate for thrombectomy, but couldn’t have one because the thrombectomy service didn’t run at the weekend. I felt I’d had my hopes dashed.

Phil, stroke survivor

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