Health Minister Eluned Morgan has today (Wednesday 22nd September) set out a long-term plan for how stroke services will improve in Wales.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Wales and can have a significant long-term impact on survivors of stroke. There are currently around 70,000 stroke survivors living in Wales, and an estimated 7,400 people experience a stroke each year.
The new quality statement for stroke, which sets out the future vision for stroke services in Wales, has been developed with the Stroke Implementation Group, which provides guidance to the government, and key stakeholders including the Stroke Association in Wales.
It outlines how services will change to improve the quality of care and reduce variations in care across Wales. For example by investing in artificial intelligence we can help support stroke diagnosis, thereby improving patient care, and producing better outcomes.
The next steps will be to create a delivery plan which will be overseen by Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Wales’ national clinical lead for stroke.
Dr Ahmad will also be supporting health boards to develop a network of comprehensive stroke centres that work across boundaries to improve care from acute treatment to rehabilitation.
Working with relevant organisations and groups is a strong focus of the new plan to address areas such as public health, prevention, rehabilitation, care for those who are critically ill or at end of life as well as collaboration with other conditions such as cardiovascular, neurological and diabetes.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan, said:
Stroke can change people’s lives in an instant, not just for the person who has had it but for their families also. With the right specialist support people can make a good recovery. As a government we remain committed to improving support for stroke survivors and helping them rebuild their lives.
I want to thank everyone who has inputted into the quality statement, the response to stroke care requires a partnership approach and I am delighted Dr Ahmad will oversee this important work.
I look forward to working closely with all key stakeholders in the years ahead to deliver on the commitments within this important quality statement.
Wales’ national clinical lead for stroke, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, said:
The Quality Statement sets out a bold vision to develop comprehensive stroke centres with regional clinical networks that will enable stroke services to be more resilient, whilst reducing variation of treatment and providing timely access to specialist care from the hospital to the community.
Director of the Stroke Association in Wales, Katie Chappelle, said:
A stroke happens in the brain – the control centre for who we are and what we do – and the impact can vary depending on which part of the brain is affected. It could be anything from wiping out your speech and physical abilities to affecting your emotions. But with fast, effective treatment and specialist support it is possible to make a recovery.
That’s why we’re excited to see this new plan for stroke in Wales. While some progress has been made to improve stroke care in recent years, there is still work to be done.
We are committed to working with all those involved in stroke care in Wales to make sure stroke survivors in Wales get the best possible level of treatment.