"Not given MRI Scan at time of Stroke which has impacted on recovery and quality of life"

About: Fairfield General Hospital / General medicine

(as a staff member posting for a patient/service user),

This story is being submitted by Healthwatch Oldham on behalf of someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Any response to this story will be communicated with the individual concerned.

On Saturday 2nd April my friend was taken to Royal Oldham hospital by ambulance as she was feeling unwell, the fingers on her right hand were not meeting properly and she suspected a possible stroke.

At the hospital she was given a brain scan of the back of head and told that she needed to have an MRI scan to ascertain the treatment she may need.

I visited her on Sunday 3rd April and was told by her daughter that she was still awaiting an MRI scan and would be transferred to Fairfield the specialist stroke unit for the area. I observed that she still had a firm grip in her right hand, she was a little unsteady on her feet and the left side of her mouth was slightly droopy

When I visited on Tuesday 5th April, she had been moved to F2 (which no longer exists). It became clear that she was still awaiting the MRI scan. This puzzled me, she was not receiving any treatment and her right hand was clearly getting worse. I asked a nurse to try to explain to me why she had not been given a scan as I understood, from the public awareness campaign on TV that time was of the essence with a stroke. She was still waiting to be transferred to Fairfield.

Later that day, she had the Scan, I received a phone call from a doctor attending her who informed me that my friend was very upset on learning that because the MRI Scan was not done immediately, it was too late to do anything, he told me that the situation was shambolic and that that there is no facility to treat Stroke victims in Oldham.

My friend was discharged the next day, she has lost the ability to use her fingers properly in her right hand and her speech is impaired. I feel that the treatment was totally inadequate and had she been given a scan immediately and transferred to the stroke unit, the outcome and recovery would have been much better.

I want to know:

Why the MRI scan was not carried out on the Saturday when she arrived at the hospital, not on the Tuesday?

Why she wasn't transferred to the specialist stroke unit at Fairfield, indeed, why she was not taken there directly, if a stroke was even suspected?

Why the shortage of beds is effecting the treatment of emergency cases?

Why the Royal Oldham Hospital is not equipped to deal with Stroke Patients?

Why the National Stroke Awareness campaign tells us that to treat a Stroke effectively, people need to get to hospital early, yet there are not facilities to treat you when you get there.

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association

We noticed your post and thought you may be interested to hear about the work of the Stroke Association and how we may be able to support you. We are the leading charity in the UK changing the world for people affected by stroke.

We were sorry to hear of your friend’s stroke and that she did not receive good care. It may be helpful to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS is an independent organisation, there to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. You can telephone PALS at Royal Oldham Hospital on 0161 604 5897 or email them at pals@pat.nhs.uk

Our Stroke Helpline is there for anyone who has been affected by stroke. You may want to know more about stroke and its effects, be looking for practical information and support, or simply need someone to talk to. The Stroke Helpline is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm and on Thursday from 9.00am to 3.30pm. The helpline number is 0303 30 33 100. You can also email us at info@stroke.org.uk. We also have a range of services across the UK, providing information, advice and support to stroke survivors and their families. You can find out if there is a service in your area from our website www.stroke.org.uk/finding-support

Finally, you can also find lots of information about stroke on our website at www.stroke.org.uk. You can read about our services and download all of our publications free of charge. There is news about our campaigns to improve services for stroke survivors, national and local events and our research programmes. You can also join TalkStroke, our online forum where you can meet other people affected by stroke and share your experiences.

I hope that this is helpful and that your friend is now getting the support that she needs to make the best recovery possible.

Stroke Information Service


Stroke Association staff are not medically trained and the information provided does not replace information given to you by your own healthcare provider.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful