THOUSANDS of stroke patients are missing out on a “miracle treatment” that could spare them a lifetime of disability.
The Stroke Association revealed only 28 per cent of eligible people get a thrombectomy to remove deadly blood clots from the brain.
One in 10 中风 patients could benefit from the procedure – around 10,000 people each year.
But the NHS has missed a target to make it the standard for all eligible patients by December 2021.
Clinics say they do not have enough staff or equipment to offer everyone the treatment, which removes clots with a wire fed into the brain through a vein.
Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, 说: “Thrombectomy is a miracle treatment that pulls patients back from near-death and alleviates the worst effects of stroke.
“It’s shocking that so many patients are missing out and being saddled with unnecessary disability.
“Thrombectomy saves brains, saves money and changes lives – now is the time for real action so that nobody has to live with avoidable disability.”
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The procedure works by fishing out clots in the brain and bringing back normal blood flow during or after a stroke.
This saves precious brain cells which die at a rate of a million per minute during a stroke.
Two out of three survivors have some form of disability when they leave hospital – but thrombectomy can reduce brain damage by returning oxygen to the brain.
Around half of clinics are under-staffed and only work during office hours from Monday to Friday.
And a postcode lottery means Londoners are significantly more likely to get the treatment.
While eight per cent of patients in the capital receive it, this plummets to just 0.3 per cent in the East of England.
Figures show thrombectomy was given to 1.1 per cent of patients in the South East last year, 1.3 per cent in the North East, 1.9 per cent in the North West and Midlands, 和 2.7 per cent in the South West.
The Stroke Association estimates another 47,112 patients will miss out on the life-changing procedure by 2030, with many left disabled as a result.
An NHS spokesperson said: “Despite the impact of the pandemic, NHS teams across the country have continued to improve stroke prevention and treatment services – including access to thrombectomy – in line with our Long Term Plan ambitions to save more lives.”
A government spokesperson added: “A government spokesperson said: “We are growing the health and social care workforce, 与结束 4,000 more doctors and 9,600 more nurses compared to last year.
“We are grateful for healthcare staff across the country who continue to improve stroke prevention and treatment services – including access to thrombectomy.”