Regulator recommends changes to NI stroke care

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) has said services for stroke patients in Northern Ireland could benefit from an improved regional approach.

In a review of stroke care across the country, the RQIA found inconsistencies in the level of service and treatment varied between all five health trusts.

Access to imaging, clot-busting, speech and physiotherapy services differed in all trusts during out of normal working hours.

They also found that if no appropriate beds were available, patients could received a less comprehensive standard of care than if they were admitted to a dedicated stroke unit.

Although stroke teams were found to be committed and enthusiastic, the regualtor  recommended an improved regional approach to ensure equality for all patients across each trust.

Speaking to the BBC, RQIA Chief Executive Glen Houston said: “While much progress has been achieved, further work is required in the implementation of a number of the strategy’s recommendations.”

“While most patients were admitted to stroke wards, some were initially transferred to other wards due to bed capacity pressures. In cases where stroke patients were placed in outlying wards, their level of care and rehabilitation was not always as comprehensive as that received in a dedicated stroke unit.”

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)  is the independent body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, and encouraging improvements in the quality of those services.

Download the review.