Call for 24-hour referral for TIAs

GPs should be able to refer patients who have had a minor stroke to a specialist clinic within 24 hours, according to a report into the performance of rapid access stroke clinics.

The report by the University of Manchester’s clinical neurosciences group looked at the performance of minor stroke and TIA clinics at five hospitals in the North West of England.

It found patients were waiting an average of 15 days to be seen, more than twice as long as the recommended guideline of seven days.

The report recommends an overhaul of the clinics structure to ensure TIA and minor strokes are given, ‘priority status and treated as an emergency’, according to Dr Craig Smith a member of the clinical neurosciences group member.

He said: ‘At the moment GPs are referring patients to these clinics but often it is held just once a week. What I would like to see is an overhaul of the service to ensure that GPs can refer a patient to the clinic within 24 hours.

‘Another option is to use A&Es more. I believe that TIA is an emergency situation and it does not get that recognition across the health service. I’m not saying that every case should be referred to A&Es but with appropriate resources they may have a role to play here.’

The report, called ‘Prognosis in patients with TIA and minor stroke attending TIA services in the North West of England,’ says overhaul of the way minor strokes are dealt with is vital because of the high risk of an attack being followed by a major stroke.

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