The British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP) says the NHS needs an extra 226 full-time stroke consultants in order to provide a comprehensive dedicated stroke service.
The estimates are published in the report Meeting the Future Consultant Workforce Challenges: Stroke Medicine Consultant Workforce Requirements 2019-2022.
The report states that there is “a significant and growing shortage of stroke consultants in the UK”. Around four in 10 hospitals providing stroke care currently have an unfilled consultant post. This compares to less than three in 10 in 2014.
The BASP says this lack of specialist staff is limiting the ability of the NHS to deliver the latest medical advances and best treatment to stroke patients.
The calculations in the report were initially developed using workforce data gathered by the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Program (SSNAP). These figures were then further refined and agreed by a working group comprising representatives from BASP, the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) Stroke Programme, and stroke specialists from all four nations of the UK. Estimates are based on the number of direct clinical care programmed activities (DCC PAs) required to deliver care at the level of national care quality indicators and standards.
The most recent figures from the SSNAP (November 2016) suggest there are currently 676 stroke consultants working in the NHS in the UK. A hospital admitting 600 stroke patients per year will require 40 DCC PAs, while a centre admitting 1,200 stroke patients will require 67 DCC PAs.
“To provide a comprehensive dedicated stroke service, our calculations show that an additional 226 full-time stroke consultants are required,” the BASP says.