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#savingbrains: Stroke survivor makes Downing Street plea for thrombectomy

“There is tens of thousands of people in this country needlessly suffering lifelong disability, or dying prematurely, because this treatment isn’t available to everybody.”

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The #savingbrains movement, headed by the Stroke Association, calls for nationwide 24 hour thrombectomy services.

“The majority of people who could have a thrombectomy miss out completely because of where they live or when they have their stroke” – The Stroke Association

Phil Woodford, who is a stroke survivor shares his story with the Stroke Association, on how he was left disappointed as even though he was told he was eligible for the treatment, he missed out on thrombectomy.

Phil says: “When I was told that I was suitable for the treatment, but people weren’t available at the weekend, I was quite angry, I’d had my hopes dashed.”

Phil goes on to describe his “lonely” experience of having to use a wheelchair for two months after his discharge from hospital.

“It’s quite a lonely, lonely thing, not being able to be as mobile as everybody else.”

Thrombectomy could of had major benefits for Phil’s recovery, on this he says: “statistics tell me that actually, I would have had a better outcome in terms of recovery, had I had the thrombectomy.”

Phil also highlights that thrombectomy has already proven its effectiveness: “This isn’t a service that needs trialling, it’s well proven, its well researched and evidenced, even going back five or six years, it wasn’t new then.”

Now, Phil has made a visit to parliament, to call on the government to invest in thrombectomy and make it available around the clock, nationwide.

Standing outside of number 10 Downing Street, Phil says: “I’m at number 10 today to call on the government, to improve it’s investment into thrombectomy services across the country.

“Thrombectomy is really a no brainer, it saves lives and it saves brains.

“There is tens of thousands of people in this country needlessly suffering lifelong disability, or dying prematurely, because this treatment isn’t available to everybody.

“We need to end the postcode lottery and have this service available everywhere.”

Phil goes on to acknowledge the hard work the NHS does and that the government need to better equip the NHS: “The NHS as we know work really hard, the clinicians want to do their best, but we need to be able to give them the tools to be able to do that.

“So, the government need to put their hands in their pockets, today, and they need to invest in thrombectomy.”

Phil attended number 10 alongside Stroke Association CEO Juliet Bouverie and Sanjeev Nayak, who helped to develop the first 24/7 thrombectomy centre in the UK.

They were there to hand in 9,000 signed letters, part of the #savingbrains movement, that demand nationwide 24/7 thrombectomy services.

Juliet says: “We know that thrombectomy saves brains, it saves money and it saves lives.”

Sanjeev highlights his personal experience of using thrombectomy, and its effectiveness, he says: “I have performed these procedures, I have seen first hand experience of thrombectomy procedures.

Stroke patients who would have previously needed a wheelchair, or wouldn’t survive are now walking out of the hospital in a matter of days.

“Thrombectomy changes lives and saves money.”

The final message from Phil being: “The government need to act now.”

To learn more about the #savingbrains appeal, please see the Stroke Association’s details on the campaign here. 

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