Stroke Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:21 pm on 5th December 2017.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 7:21 pm, 5th December 2017

I echo the hon. Gentleman’s sentiment that that work is critical. I mentioned the Act FAST campaign, which was a heavily evidenced public health campaign showing that the quicker we act after the event, the better the outcome, so he is absolutely right to highlight that issue. However, I am conscious of time, so I am going to press on.

My hon. Friend rightly spoke about mechanical thrombectomy, which he called a game-changer, and he is absolutely right. To continue and build on our stroke service success and to address the costs associated with stroke in England, which was one of my hon. Friend’s first asks, it is imperative that we keep identifying and developing innovative treatments and cutting-edge procedures.

In mechanical thrombectomy, or MT as we shall know it, we have an innovation that we believe can significantly improve patient outcomes, and my hon. Friend spoke about that. In April this year, NHS England announced that it will commission mechanical thrombectomy so that it can become more widely available for patients who have certain types of acute ischaemic stroke, which is a severe form of the condition. My understanding is that work by NHS England is now under way to assess the readiness of 24 neuroscience centres across the country. It is expected that the treatment will start to be phased in later this year and early next year, with an estimated 1,000 patients set to benefit across the first year of introduction. Overall, this will benefit an estimated 8,000 stroke patients a year and save millions of pounds in long-term health and social care costs—my hon. Friend was absolutely right to point out the rising costs to NHS England around this condition.

As the clinical director for stroke at NHS England has said, we are committed to fast-tracking new and effective treatments that will deliver long-term benefits for patients. For me, this treatment is just one example of many that we believe have the potential to tangibly improve patient care and to address rising costs.