Stroke services lagging behind

A report published today shows concerns over the high stroke rate of people living in poorer communities.

Stroke care for patients needs improving

by Richard Morgan

A major report has today demanded further action to support people who suffer from one of Wales biggest killer diseases -- strokes. New figures, released from the first ever All Wales Stroke Annual report show the shocking scale of death and illness inflicted by the disease.

Wales lagging behind others in stroke care

It is estimated that each year across Wales, approximately 11,000 people will have a stroke. Credit: PA

Having a stroke was the fourth biggest killer in Wales in 2010 after cancer, heart and respiratory diseases - causing almost 2,800 deaths.

But a report published today by the Welsh Government says although services for stroke patients are improving more needs to be done.

It is estimated that each year across Wales, approximately 11,000 people will have a stroke. Of those around a third may die. In addition over 65,000 people are living with the effects of stroke.

But international comparisons show that quality of stroke care in Wales could be improved significantly says the report.

England and Wales lag behind comparable countries for rates of mortality and the availability of skilled facilities.

Access to treatments that have been shown to improve outcomes also vary across Wales.

The Welsh Government says the situation is improving. The number of emergency hospital admissions for stroke fell by 740 patients over the last year and the rate of deaths linked with strokes decreased.

The report however says there is still a long way to go - with concerns over the high number of people who suffer from a stroke living in deprived communities. .

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Health Minister welcomes new stroke unit

Health Minister, Mark Drakeford has opened a specialised £11 million stroke unit at Llandough hospital.

The facility will offer private and dignified care for patients by providing cubicle accommodation and outdoor rehabilitation areas.

A recent report on stroke care in Wales has highlighted a decrease in the amount of stroke-related hospital admissions and a fall in deaths.

We have seen huge strides in the treatment of stroke. We have invested almost £350,000 over the past three years to support the all Wales out-of-hours Telestroke service. Also, we have increased focus on thrombolysis, the use of drugs that breaks up clots in the blood, which is recognised as a vitally important.

As the new Stroke Rehabilitation Centre shows the Welsh Government's commitment to delivering world class care, the annual report demonstrates how we are working with health boards to improve stroke services and drive up standards of patient care in their communities.

– Health Minister, Mark Drakeford

New £11m stroke unit opens

University Hospital Llandough
In 2010, strokes were the fourth largest cause of death in Wales Credit: PA

An £11 million stroke rehabilitation unit has opened its doors at Llandough hospital. The Welsh Government has helped to fund the state-of-the-art facility, which hopes to improve patient dignity and privacy.

The new purpose-built centre includes;

-17 accommodation cubicles

-a dayroom with outdoor assessment area

-a gymnasium and therapy rooms

The first annual all Wales stroke report shows a decrease in stroke admissions with death rates falling by over 20%.