ACCESS to life-saving stroke medication is being improved at Worthing Hospital.
From September, clot-busting thrombolysis drugs will be available round the clock, instead of the “in-hours” service which currently operates at the hospital.
Dr Phillip Barnes, medical director at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This is a real step forward in the care that the local NHS is able to offer patients.
“When it comes to strokes, speed is of the essence, so having this service within West Sussex will mean that lives are saved and disability reduced.”
Thrombolysis is an effective way of improving care for some stroke patients. It is not appropriate for everyone, but if a patient is eligible, the treatment needs to be completed within four hours of their having the stroke. The new 24/7 service will allow more people across West Sussex to receive the drugs without having to be sent to hospitals further away.
One third of the people who receive the clot-busting drugs will recover fully, and another third will experience significantly less disability in the long term.
The agreement to extend thrombolysis into a 24-hour service was reached between Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worthing, St Richard’s and Southlands hospitals, the primary care trust NHS West Sussex and the emerging clinical commissioning group – the Coastal West Sussex Federation. The service will cost about £300,000 a year. It is expected 15 per cent of the trust’s 1,500 annual stroke patients will get the drug after September 1, compared to 7.5 per cent now.