Survivor in stroke treatment plea


A man whose life was saved by thrombectomy has launched a petition calling for the treatment to return in Scotland

17th September 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A Scottish stroke survivor has launched a petition calling for urgent action to help save lives.

Robert Baldock, 53, from East Lothian has teamed up with charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to launch the Bring Back Thrombectomy petition urging the Scottish Government to act now and give stroke patients across Scotland access to the procedure.

Thrombectomy is a highly specialised procedure which involves physically removing the clot that caused the stroke and opening up the blocked artery, and is most effective if done in the first few hours after a stroke. The procedure – which can help prevent significant disability from a severe stroke – was only carried out 13 times in Scotland last year, but has been withdrawn due to resource issues. It is estimated that as many as 600 stroke patients a year could benefit.

The First Minister confirmed recently that it will be spring 2019 before we see a plan for a thrombectomy service in Scotland.  According to CHSS, the delay in action means that hundreds more stroke patients run the risk of becoming more disabled by their stroke this year. 

Baldock is a digital solutions designer from East Lothian. He suffered a severe stroke last year which has left him with significant communication difficulties. 

He said:  “My stroke has taken my ability to move easily and to talk. I was lucky enough to receive a thrombectomy - without it things could have been so much worse.

“Thrombectomy services in Scotland have been withdrawn and I want to appeal for people’s help to change that. Six hundred stroke patients across Scotland will miss out on this procedure this year unless something changes.

“The scariest moment after my stroke was waiting to find out if I was able to receive this life-changing operation.  I feel like one of the lucky ones.”

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of CHSS, said: “Access to thrombectomy needs to be tackled as an urgent priority by the Scottish Government.

“The 600 people who will miss out on thrombectomy this year and could be left severely disabled after their stroke won’t find comfort in a plan being produced for spring 2019. We all want to see action now.

“Every second counts when it comes to stroke and the Scottish Government must meet this urgent need. They need to resource this service as soon as possible; we want to see a deadline by which thrombectomy will be available in Scotland along with a plan for what patients can do in the meantime.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We expect the Directors of Planning Thrombectomy Advisory Group to report early next year on the provision of thrombectomy for Scotland.”