"Why was a suspect stroke left to wait for so long?"

About: North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust University Hospital Of North Durham / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

I rang for an ambulance because I feared my husband was having another stroke. The ambulance team were brilliant, but we were taken to A&E Durham University Hospital. There we had to stand in a queue for 1 hour with the ambulance crew in attendance till hand over. We were then put in a side ward and left for 4 1/2 hrs. I had to go and ask someone to look at my husband, as he was getting worse.

I think this is appalling as we are told F. A. S. T. something should be done. My husband lost his speech and became very confused whilst waiting to be seen. He had great treatment once he was admitted to ward 2. But I was livid that a stroke patient should be left that long.

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Response from Stroke Association, Stroke Association


Our Ref: 156395

Dear saskie

I was sorry to hear of your husband’s stroke and the delay in his treatment at Durham University Hospital. At the Stroke Association, we campaign to improve health services for people affected by stroke. We are always disappointed to hear about situations like this.

The current National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke recommend that everyone who has had a stroke should have a brain scan within one hour if any of the following apply:

• your symptoms suggest that you may benefit from a drug treatment to dissolve a blood clot (‘thrombolysis’) or reduce blood clotting

• you were taking drugs to reduce blood clotting (anticoagulants) before the stroke

• you are prone to bleeding

• you are unconscious

• your symptoms are varying or getting worse for no obvious reason

• you have a problem with your eyes called papilloedema, a stiff neck or

• fever

• you had a very bad headache when the stroke symptoms began.

If you would like to read through these guidelines, a summary is available to download on the following page:


It may be helpful to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). Their role is to make sure the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, answers their questions and resolves their concerns. You can telephone PALS at Durham University Hospital on 0800 195 7998 or visit www.pals.nhs.uk.

We also produce a resource sheet with more information about how you can complain if you are unhappy with health services. You can download this from the following page of our website:

Complaining about a health service


Please note you can download our full range of leaflets and factsheets free of charge from www.stroke.org.uk.

You may also be interested to hear about our work and how we may be able to support you and your husband. We have services across the UK, providing information, advice and support to people affected by stroke. You can find out if there is a service in your area by contacting our Stroke Helpline. Our Helpline staff are there for anyone who has been effected by stroke in any way. We can offer information about stroke, practical advice and support, or simply someone to talk to. The Stroke Helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0303 30 33 100. You can also email us at info@stroke.org.uk

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Douglas Youngson

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.

We would like to hold your details so that we can send you information about the work of Stroke Association. If you would like us to keep in touch please email subscribe@stroke.org.uk with your contact details.

If you would like to make a donation to Stroke Association, you can do so on our website at http://www.stroke.org.uk/donate/make_a_donation.html

All donations are gratefully received. Please do not forget to "Gift Aid" your donation if you are a UK tax payer. Alternatively, if you would like to support us with a regular donation, you can do so here: http://giving.stroke.org.uk

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Thank you for providing feedback on your husband's admission to the Accident and Emergency Department and Ward 2 at University Hospital North Durham. Whilst I am pleased to note you are happy with the care he received on Ward 2, I am very sorry to hear about the delay you experienced in the ambulance whilst waiting to be admitted to A&E. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patientexperience@cddft.nhs.uk Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: - Patient Experience Team Darlington Memorial Hospital Hollyhurst Road Darlington County Durham DL3 6HX If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website. The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients. Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices. Patient Experience Team County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 0800 7835774

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