Top of the table

NHS Borders is providing the best stroke care in the country, an annual report by NHS Scotland has revealed.

The health board provided 81 per cent of stroke patients with the “appropriate stroke care bundle” in 2012, up from 64 per cent the previous year and significantly above the national average of 58 per cent.

The “care bundle” includes admission to a stroke unit, a test of the patient’s swallowing capabilities and a brain scan within 24 hours.

According to the annual Scottish Stroke Care Audit, 97 per cent of the 210 stroke patients at the BGH were in the dedicated stroke unit within one day of admission in 2012 – well above the 90 per cent national target.

NHS Borders stroke co-ordinator Sandi Haines said: “We are delighted these results reflect the positive changes we have made over recent years.

“These targets are incredibly important to meet as we use it not as a target, but as a benchmark for good patient care.

“It is the staff from right across the system and their commitment to quality patient care that makes these results possible.”

She added: “There has been a huge change in attitude to stroke in recent years, with a growing understanding that it should be treated with the same sort of urgency as a heart attack because rapid treatment can make a huge difference in preventing further damage to the brain and can help someone make a full recovery.

“Delay increases the risk of death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.

“It is vital that the symptoms are not ignored in the hope they will go away.”

The overall length of stay in the BGH for stroke patients was 18 days in 2012, five days less than the national average.

A refurbished stroke unit opened at the BGH in 2013.