Campaigns, policy & projects > Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland call for action on Thrombectomy

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland call for action on Thrombectomy

Robert Baldock
Update: 6th September 2018
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Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland joins with patients to call on the Health Secretary to demand a life-changing stroke procedure be brought back into Scottish hospitals

Earlier this year, a procedure called thrombectomy was withdrawn from Scottish hospitals but remains available elsewhere in the UK. In 2017, only 13 people received this life-changing treatment in Scotland before a moratorium was introduced – but as many as 600 would have benefited.


Thrombectomy is a highly specialised procedure that involves physically removing blood clots from the brain. In England 25 hospitals deliver the treatment and £100m has been identified to develop this further.  In the Republic of Ireland between 200 and 300 people receive a thrombectomy each year.


We are calling for the Scottish Government to step in and identify national funding to reinstate thrombectomy services, address a shortage of trained staff and develop a clear national plan for rolling out the service to patients across Scotland.


Jane-Claire Judson, CEO of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said,

“Thrombectomy is a procedure that changes the lives of stroke patients.  It can save people from significant disability.   It is completely unacceptable that this procedure is no longer available to people who need it in Scotland. We need to see action as Scottish patients are getting left behind compared to elsewhere in the UK.

“Every day in Scotland 25 people will have a stroke.  Without this essential treatment, another 600 people this year could miss out on the chance of a better recovery. We won’t stand for that.

“Bringing back and expanding thrombectomy services needs to be a priority for the Health Secretary. I have written to her to highlight our concerns and we will be continuing to campaign on this issue until we see positive change. It is a matter of life and health and it needs to be addressed urgently.”


Robert Baldock, 53 is a digital solutions designer from East Lothian.  He suffered a severe stroke last year which has left him with significant communication difficulties.  Thrombectomy became Robert’s only chance of survival.  He said:

“All I can remember of that morning is the ambulance crew trying to manoeuvre me down the narrow stairs of the cottage with great difficulty. I couldn’t move or speak. A scan revealed a large clot had caused my stroke. Normally you would have a clot busting drug to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow to the brain. However I was told this treatment wasn’t going to be effective for me. My carer Sharon and friends who were with me were told to prepare for the worst. Things didn’t look good at all.


“My only option was a thrombectomy. Thankfully, I was able to have the thrombectomy that saved my life. For me there was no other alternative. I am shocked to hear that I was one in only 13 people who received a thrombectomy in Scotland in 2017 when 600 people that year could have been eligible for the same treatment that I had.


“Recovery has been slow and I have been left with severe communication difficulties. I spent 10 weeks in hospital and a further 5 months in rehabilitation. Looking back my scariest moment was waiting to find out if I was going to be able to receive a life-saving thrombectomy and the stark possibility of not surviving if not. Since my stroke everything has changed but I survived and I have learnt to appreciate and savour what I have.”

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