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Stroke survivor numbers increasing steadily

Deaths from stroke down by 6% since 2011

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 15 January 2018

The number of people in Wales surviving after having a stroke is continuing to increase, according to a newly published Welsh Government report*.

The Stroke: Annual Statement of Progress report shows that the number of people in Wales who died following a stroke has decreased from 2,240 people in 2011 to 2,109 people in 2016 – a 6% fall.

Overall in 2016-17, there were nearly 4,700 people admitted to hospitals across Wales following a stroke – the equivalent of almost 13 people per day.

It is estimated that each year, around 7,400 people will have a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in Wales.

The new report identifies improvements in the performance of Welsh hospitals when treating stroke patients.

It says that more hospitals are now reaching the higher levels “B” to “D” against the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) than in 2013-14, where the majority of Welsh sites were achieving the lowest grade of “E”.

The authors said improvements in performance could be due to a number of achievements in patient care, including effective pre-assessment of stroke patients.

Stroke patients were now receiving quicker access to brain scans upon admission to hospital – the percentage of patients receiving a CT scan within one hour in Wales increased from 41.6% in 2015-16 to 50.6% in 2016-17, in line with guidelines set by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Progress had also been made in ensuring that patients were scanned within 12 hours, with 91% of Welsh sites performing better than the audit average of 94% and more than 95% of Welsh patients being scanned within 12 hours.

During 2016-17, around half (50.8%) of Welsh patients were directly admitted to a stroke unit within the four-hour guidelines set by the RCP.

Welsh health secretary, Vaughan Gething said: “Time is critical to treating anyone suffering from a stroke, so the faster an individual gets expert help, the better their chances are of making a full recovery.

“It’s great to see that more people in Wales are accessing high quality, urgent care during their treatment, and afterwards through rehabilitation, psychological and at times social care provision. I credit all the healthcare professionals for their dedication to improving services for patients in Wales.

“We strive for everyone to have the lowest possible risk of having a stroke, and, when it does occur, to have an excellent chance of surviving, and returning to independence as quickly as possible.”

* Stroke: Annual Statement of Progress. A report prepared by the Welsh Government, 2018.

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