Scottish stroke survivor launches petition to bring back life-changing stroke op

Type: News Item Date Published: 11th September 2018
Robert Baldock

The petition, backed by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, urges the Scottish Government to give people across Scotland access to thrombectomy.

A Scottish stroke survivor has launched a petition calling for urgent action by the Scottish Government to make sure that people who have experienced a stroke in Scotland get access to the operation which he feels helped his survival.

Robert Baldock, 53, from East Lothian has teamed up with charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to launch the “Bring Back Thrombectomy” petition (this link will take you away from our website) urging the Scottish Government to act now and give stroke patients across Scotland access to thrombectomy.

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prevent significant disability from a severe stroke – was only carried out 13 times in Scotland last year, but has been withdrawn due to resource issues.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 people a year could benefit.

Earlier this week in Parliament, the First Minister confirmed it will be spring 2019 before we see a plan for a thrombectomy service in Scotland. According to Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, the delay in action means that hundreds more people living with the effects of strokes run the risk of becoming more disabled by their stroke this year.

Robert Baldock, 53 is a digital solutions designer from East Lothian. He suffered a severe stroke last year which has left him with significant communication difficulties. Thrombectomy became Robert’s only chance of survival. 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Thrombectomy services in Scotland have been withdrawn and I want to appeal for people’s help to change that.

600 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.

It’s time that all patients across Scotland get access to thrombectomy when they need it.

Commenting on the launch of the petition, Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, 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.

Stroke patients in Scotland deserve access to the best treatment. Every day in Scotland 25 people will have a stroke, and it is unacceptable that their chances of recovery could be more limited than people elsewhere in the UK.

It’s a matter of life and health and we will continue to campaign until we see change.”

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