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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-17782: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 July 2018

To ask the Scottish Government when it expects to reach its targets for the treatment of stroke patients; what measures are being taken to give quality care to patients post-stroke, and what its response is to concerns that stroke survivors in Scotland may have received better care had they lived in England.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 August 2018

The Scottish Government does not set targets for the treatment of stroke patients. The Scottish Stroke Care Standards, in the Scottish Stroke Care Audit (SSCA), are used to assess the performance of stroke services, at a Scotland wide, NHS Board or individual hospital level, not at the level of individual patients. The standards are set at a level which aims to be both challenging but achievable by hospitals. It is, therefore, inevitable that some stroke services will not meet some standards. This is done to encourage improvements in performance. Once a Standard is routinely exceeded by all hospitals it is recommended it is raised. Stroke services need to use appropriate Quality Improvement methods to optimise their own performance.

Our Stroke Improvement Plan (2014) sets out a comprehensive programme for further reducing the number of deaths from stroke and improving stroke treatment and care across the whole patient pathway. It focuses on providing the best possible care in the acute setting, as well as helping peoples’ longer-term recovery in their own communities. The Scottish Stroke Improvement Programme measures progress towards meeting the priorities in the Improvement Plan.

The SSCA shows that last year’s modest improvements were maintained in all four ‘bundle’ standards, the most important overall indictor of the performance of stroke services. NHS boards report self-evaluated performance against the Stroke Improvement Plan priorities, and this shows variability across the country. The Scottish Stroke Improvement Programme National Report 2018 contains the results of the annual Scottish Stroke Care Audit and NHS boards benchmarking against the Stroke Improvement Plan priorities and is available at

A Directors of Planning Thrombectomy Advisory Group is developing a national planning framework for the provision of thrombectomy for stroke for Scotland. The development of the framework will consider all the elements required to deliver the service. It is anticipated that the framework will be completed by spring 2019 and will be submitted to Directors of Planning and follow due process for the planning of NHS Scotland services.