Call for speedier treatment for patients who suffer from mini-stroke

Mini-stroke victims ‘miss out on vital care’

By Nick Triggle Health reporter, BBC News

Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Mini stroke tia
Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Many patients at high risk of stroke are not getting the specialist treatment they need, an audit found.

People who suffer a mini-stroke are meant to undergo neck surgery to help prevent a full-blown attack.

The Royal College of Physicians and Vascular Society found just a third of 3,000 patients had the op by the two-week deadline, and many did not get it.

About 500 lives a year could be saved, they said. The government said progress had been made on stroke services.

Mini-strokes – or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) as they are known – will often lead to a full-blown attack.

This audit shows that there is still a long way to go to make sure people get urgent preventative treatment that could prevent a catastrophic stroke”

Nikki Hill Stroke Association

However, one in five full strokes can be prevented through an operation known as a carotid endarterectomy to unblock the arteries.

This has to be done within 14 days of symptoms showing to be really effective.

But the review of more than 3,000 cases showed only 1,005 were done within that timeframe. The average wait was 28 days.

Lack of GP referral, hospital staff and equipment were all highlighted as key problems.

The audit concluded that stroke services would be best concentrated in fewer, larger centres to ensure adequate staffing and resources were available.

However, not all the delays were down to the NHS – nearly a fifth of patients waited too long before seeking help.

Read the full article about mini stroke and TIA

NHS Grampian board plans a new £110m emergency care centre in Aberdeen

Plans for an “ambitious” new £110m emergency care centre in Aberdeen have taken another step forward.

The full business case was approved at a meeting of the board of NHS Grampian, and the plan will now be submitted to the Scottish government.

News from BBC Scotland

Accident and emergency treatment as well as the Gmed out-of-hours facility would be among the services at the base.

It is hoped the centre will be operational by December 2012.

Project director Graeme Smith said: “This ambitious project has taken shape as a result of a major effort by a wide range of clinicians, managers and the public over many years.”

More patients may be treated at home by paramedics

Published Date: 18 February 2010

By Lyndsay Moss

Health Correspondent

MORE patients calling an ambulance in Scotland could be treated at home by paramedics rather than going to hospital, a report on the future for the service reveals.

The “strategic vision” for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) over the next five years suggests more conditions could be treated without going to hospital, reducing trips to busy A&E departments.

At present, conditions that can be dealt with by paramedics at home under so-called “see and treat” guidelines are panic attacks, fainting, minor head injuries, fitting and epilepsy, diabetes and asthma. The report also said the service would work with “vulnerable” rural communities to improve the services they received, including more home care.

The SAS said it would develop a new system with NHS 24 and local out-of-hours providers to make sure patients got through to the right service they needed, after its consultation suggested widespread public confusion.

It comes after The Scotsman revealed last week that doctors were increasingly concerned the NHS will not be able to cope with rising demand for emergency out-of-hours services.

The report, which follows a lengthy public consultation, looks at plans to improve the care given to patients from 2010 to 2015.

Demand for ambulances is growing every year. Between 2003-4 and 2008-9, call-outs went up 35 per cent, with a 41 per cent rise out of hours. At the same time, more patients are being treated in Scottish A&Es. This year, it is expected they will deal with more than 1.6 million patients.

Click the link to read more about The “strategic vision” for the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS)

Scottish Ambulance Service reviews the air ambulance service


Our aircraft do not belong to the Service but are owned and operated by a private company on a contractual basis.  We have started the tender process for this contract, which expires on 31 March 2013.

As part of this process and our commitment to continually improve our service, we are seeking the views of patients, the public and healthcare partners on the Air Ambulance Service.  If you are a patient or a healthcare partner, please complete one of the following surveys.

Patient survey

Health professional survey

This survey is part of a wider consultation process which also involves meetings with a wide range of groups across Scotland. If you are a member of the public who wishes to share your views, the Service will be running a number of consultations in the following locations:

  • Lerwick
  • Kirkwall
  • Barra
  • Stornoway
  • Campbletown
  • Oban
  • Stranraer
  • Aberdeen
  • Inverness
  • Glasgow
  • Edinburgh

Full details will be published at the end of October.

Inverness based air ambulance co-ordination service to be centralised in Glasgow.

Delays concern voiced over air ambulance service shake-up

transfer of co-ordination to central belt raises fears

Published: 15/10/2009

THE air ambulance service in the north and north-east could be hit by delays from next week as the result of a communications shake-up, a staff member warned yesterday.

The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) is transferring the co-ordination of air ambulance medical transfer requests for the north – currently handled by communications staff at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness – to a new unit near Glasgow.

Scottish Ambulance chiefs have insisted the switch will improve efficiency.

But one Inverness-based staff member said that adding another link in the chain of command could lead to delays. He is also worried that lack of local knowledge among central belt colleagues would add to the risks.

“This is centralisation when local knowledge is king,” the worker added.

A spokesman for the SAS said calls for hospital transfers by air ambulance in the north were currently passed to its aircraft operator, Gamma Aviation, to arrange.

From 8am on Monday, calls received in Inverness will be relayed to a new “inter-hospital transfer team” in Cardonald, Glasgow, which will then dispatch the aircraft.

Read more about the air ambulance co-ordination here

Sandpiper Trust in rural areas of Scotland

From The Sunday Times
October 11, 2009

Mission to improve remote chances of survival

A nephew’s death led Claire Maitland to help provide emergency care in isolated areas

Gillian Harris

Claire Maitland came up with the idea for the Sandpiper Trust while mourning her 14-year-old nephew, Sandy, who drowned on holiday in Canada.During the difficult months that followed his death, Maitland thought about the remoteness of the lake where he had been swimming and the length of time it took the emergency services to arrive at the scene.

She turned her attention to the situation in Scotland, where emergency medical help is not immediately available in some rural communities. What would happen if a child got into difficulties swimming in a remote loch? It was the start of an ambitious plan to improve a fractured system.

“I had this urge to try to make things better after Sandy’s death,” she says. “I started to make phone calls to doctors and patients’ groups. I asked, ‘if there is an accident in rural Scotland, what happens?’”

She soon discovered that there was no co-ordinated system of pre-hospital care for patients in remote parts of the country. If someone was injured in a road accident, for example, an ambulance would be called, even though it could take hours to reach the scene. In some cases, the delay could prove fatal.

The former veterinary nurse decided to plug an unquantifiable gap. She began to raise money to provide rural GPs with medical equipment that would deliver life-saving care to patients before they were attended by paramedics.

From the kitchen table of her home near Crathes in Kincardineshire, she formed the Sandpiper Trust to buy bags containing emergency equipment.

GPs across rural Scotland now have 750 Sandpiper bags, worth £1,000 each.

The charity also bought 50 vehicle locator systems that can be used by the Scottish Ambulance Service to determine if there is a Sandpiper GP near the scene of an emergency who could respond faster than paramedics.

Read more about emergency care in remote areas