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Area is among worst for death from strokes.

Byline: CHRIS TAYLOR

Strokes have killed almost 2,000 people in Renfrewshire in just a decade.

NHS statistics reveal scores of patients die every year from a lack of oxygen to the brain.

The figure is among the highest in the country sitting eighth out of 32 council areas with the highest fatalities.

Experts warn support for patients is lacking, with a key operation to help survivors back on their feet unavailable in Renfrewshire.

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, called for patients to be offered all viable treatment options.

She said: "It is extremely concerning that we are not seeing more urgent action from the Scottish Government to bring thrombectomy to Scotland's hospitals.

"Stroke patients in Scotland are being told to wait for a plan to be drafted.

"That means that more stroke patients will be left with avoidable disabilities this year because urgent action hasn't been taken.

"We don't have time to lose."

Heath board figures revealed 1,708 people from Renfrewshire died from strokes between 2008 and 2017.

More women than men were killed by the condition with 986 deaths, compared to 722.

Losses peaked in 2011, with 204 fatalities. Deaths dropped to a low of 138 by 2014, but have remained steady since.

Strokes are caused by a lack of bloodysupply carrying oxygen to the brain.

Effects can be catastrophic, leading to lifelong disability and death.

Symptoms include drooping faces, being unable to raise and hold the arms up, slurred speech and confusion.

High blood pressure is one of the major causes of strokes.

Arteries can become clogged due to poor lifestyle and increase the chances of an attack.

Experts say smoking and excess alcohol can contribute to the likelihood of suffering a stroke.

Across Scotland, around 50,000 people were killed by strokes over the period.

Charities have called for investment in pioneering surgery to help those suffering the aftereffects of an episode.

Doctors can use thin tubes to remove blood clots from the brain during a thrombectomy.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which administers treatment in Renfrewshire had performed a small number of operations.

But these have been ceased due to a lack of finance.

In England, 25 centres offer the treatment, with a PS100million budget set aside to pay for procedures and research.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde confirmed it does not "routinely" offer the treatment.

A spokesman added: "We are aware that this procedure has been trialled nationally for the small number of patients it would benefit."

Ms Judson says delays in ushering in new treatments must be cut.

She added: "Every day in Scotland 25 people will have a stroke, and it's unacceptable that their chances of recovery are more limited than people elsewhere in the UK.

"In 2017, 600 people should have had access to a thrombectomy, but only 13 benefited.

"The Scottish Government should take control of the situation as a matter of urgency.

"It needs to resource this service as soon as possible, provide a deadline by which thrombectomies will be available and have a clear plan for what patients can do in the meantime."

The Stroke Association says the illness can have devastating consequences.

A spokesman said: "More people are surviving stroke than ever before and now nearly half of all UK adults know someone who has had a stroke.

"Every stroke is different, and the impact varies depending on which part of the brain is affected.

"It could be anything from robbing you of your speech and mobility to affecting your emotions and personality.

"This can have sudden and massive consequences, not only for the person who has had the stroke, but for their loved ones too."

Holyrood has brought MPs together in a bid to find a way forward for care across the country.

A spokesman said: "We fully support the development of thrombectomy services.

"We believe they can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for people who have suffered ischaemic stroke by avoiding or reducing the level of disability.

"The Health Secretary has asked that a national planning framework is developed to ensure a high-quality and clinically safe service can be implemented.

"The directors of the Planning Thrombectomy Advisory Group are designing this plan which will be submitted to the National Planning Board at their next meeting."

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No time to lose Jane-Claire Judson says all viable treatments must be offered
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Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 7, 2019
Words:732
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