Most hospitals in Scotland are failing to meet admission targets for stroke victims, new figures have shown.
According to NHS standards, at least 60 per cent of patients should be admitted to a stroke unit on the day of admission to hospital.
However, the Scottish Stroke Care Audit 2011 shows the target was only met in 39 per cent of cases last year.
The target of 90 per cent admittance on the following day was only met in 63 per cent of cases.
Only two hospitals achieved the admission to stroke unit standard.
The audit also showed hospitals are lagging behind in brain scan targets. At least 80 per cent of people should have a brain scan on the day of admission but in 2010 only 52 per cent of patients received the scan.
Responding to the audit, a Scottish government spokesman said: “Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Scotland and, along with heart disease, has been a clinical priority for NHS Scotland for over 14 years. Over that time we have seen a 54 per cent cut in deaths from stroke among under-75s.”
“The audit shows ongoing improvements in many aspects of stroke care covered by the stroke clinical standards.
“In particular, access to thrombolysis and neurovascular clinic referrals have exceeded the standards, and access to effective preventative treatments, such as aspirin, continues to show marked improvement.
“But clearly further improvements must be made. The better heart disease and stroke care action plan notes our intention to continue to monitor NHS boards’ performance on an annual basis and request a note of actions from boards to address any shortcomings.
“Further progress will also be supported by the introduction of a new HEAT [Health, Efficiency, Access and Treatment targets] target for access to stroke units.
“Boards are expected to admit 90 per cent of stroke patients to a specialist stroke unit on the day of admission, or the day after, by March 2013.
“This will make a major contribution to reducing mortality as well as improving people’s recovery in the community over the longer-term.”