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Key stroke targets missed but Norfolk hospital blames tough winter months

PUBLISHED: 18:56 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:56 27 April 2018

A bicycle was stolen from the James Paget University Hospital. Picture: Sonya Duncan

A bicycle was stolen from the James Paget University Hospital. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

A charity has hit out at a Norfolk hospital which has blamed missing key targets for treating strokes on the tough winter months.

The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, admitted just 53pc of patients to a stroke ward within four hours in February - the target is 90pc.

And the hospital also missed its target for 50pc of patients to receive a brain imaging scan within one hour of admission, with the percentage lagging behind at 42.67pc.

Esmee Russell, head of prevention and campaigns at the Stroke Association, said: “It is unacceptable that your postcode determines whether or not you face treatment delays if you have a stroke and that not all people in the Great Yarmouth area are not getting the best possible stroke treatment.”

But the hospital said before winter targets were hit and in some cases symptoms did not indicate a patient had a stroke.

Andrew Palmer, director of transformation at JPUH, said: “Performance in these two areas has dipped over the busy winter period due to the extreme demand placed on the hospital. In August 2017 the trust achieved more than 89pc of patients being admitted to our stroke ward in four hours and similarly, in September 2017, 65pc of patients, well above the 50pc target, were accessing brain imaging within an hour of arrival when required.”

There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year – roughly one stroke every five minutes.

Those figures make strokes the fourth biggest killer in the country, while almost two thirds of survivors leave hospital with a disability

Ms Russell added: “Stroke is a medical emergency, and when swift treatment is not given to those who need it, people’s recoveries are put at risk. The longer a patient waits for a brain scan, the longer it will be before they receive the right treatment, and they are more likely to be left with a serious disability as a result.”

Mr Palmer added that JPUH beds had often been completely full over winter, when the NHS was under intense pressure, but that staff worked “extremely hard on a daily basis to ensure patients arriving via A&E that needed to be admitted are found a bed as quickly as possible”.

He said: “Even if a bed is not immediately available on the stroke ward, patients will be admitted and started on our clinical stroke pathway, so will receive immediate care, monitoring and treatment by the specialist stroke team.”

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