NHS chief hails expansion of 'game-changing' treatment for stroke patients

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Thousands of stroke patients in England will benefit from a "game-changing" treatment after plans to roll out the revolutionary procedure were approved by NHS bosses.

Undergoing a mechanical thrombectomy can significantly improve the chances of recovery for individuals who suffer from a severe form of stroke where blood vessels in the brain become blocked.

However to date the specialist treatment has only been available at a limited number of hospitals across the country.

The NHS plans to introduce the procedure at all 24 neuroscience centres across England, eventually benefiting an estimated 8,000 patients a year.

The move has been welcomed by stroke charities who say it will boost survival rates and improve the standard of living for people recovering from the illness.

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: "This major national upgrade to stroke services puts the NHS at the leading edge of stroke care internationally.

"It's another practical example of the NHS quietly expanding innovative modern care that will really benefit patients, but which tends to be invisible in the public debate about the NHS."

The treatment is due to be phased in from later in 2017, benefiting around 1,000 patients in its first year.

NHS England and Health Education England will then work with trusts to build up the number of centres capable of providing thrombectomy to patients with certain types of  acute ischaemic stroke.