Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (91)

Denis Naughten


91. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to increase thrombolysis rates for stroke patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30022/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The implementation of the National Stroke Programme, since 2010 to date, has resulted in improved services for all stroke patients. One of the programmes early targets was to provide a national 24/7 stroke thrombolysis service and increase the rate of safe thrombolysis from a baseline of 1% (The Irish National Audit of Stroke May 2008), to 7% by the end of 2012.

The national stroke programme

- Developed a national stroke thrombolysis training programme in association with Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and directed by a senior stroke physician. To date this programme has been attended by >100 senior physicians.

- Established, as national policy, that all FAST score positive acute stroke patients are transported to hospitals providing stroke thrombolysis. This involves redirecting ambulances away from hospitals without acute stroke services.

- Provided national thrombolysis guidelines and protocols.

- Developed of a national Telemedicine System to support decision making and increase thrombolysis levels.

The Programme was assisted by the development of a public stroke awareness campaign by the Irish Heart Foundation. A national audit of stroke thrombolysis was carried out in 2012 by the HSE Quality & Patient Safety Directorate. It reported a national stroke thrombolysis rate of 9.5%, which is comparable to rates internationally. To increase national levels further larger centres outside Dublin will need to increase their thrombolysis rates. To achieve further gains will require real innovation such as the implementation of the Telemedicine Rapid Access to Stroke and Neurological Assessment (TRASNA) system. However for this to function we need co-operation and support of physicians skilled in administering the therapy. Negotiations in this regard are ongoing.