Welsh Minister Reaffirms Commitment To Improving Stroke Services

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Health Minister Edwina Hart reaffirmed the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment to improving stroke services in Wales.

Following a damning report into stroke services last year, Edwina Hart ordered local health boards and NHS Trusts to develop plans to improve services. The plans should be submitted to the Minister by the end of this month for consideration.

An extra ?2.5million has been set aside to enhance stroke services this year, the majority of which will be allocated on a regional basis.

Speaking at the Welsh Stroke Conference in Newport, Mrs Hart said: "I am under no illusion that stroke services must improve. Despite the number of people dying from stroke continuing to fall, those people surviving stroke are left with varying degrees of disability and are in need of a great deal of support from both health and social services professionals.

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"I have asked LHBs and Trusts to develop plans so those in need of stroke services get better care and support in future.

"Work is already well under way to improve services through the continued implementation of our Older People's National Service Framework and a plan developed in association with the Stroke Association.

"The new regional plans will complement this work and by us all working in partnership we will improve prevention and early identification of people at risk of developing a stroke as well as care and follow up support for people who have had a stroke.

"I will carefully consider the plans with advice from the Welsh Stroke Partnership before allocating this funding to ensure it has the maximum benefit for patients and staff."

Dr Anne Freeman, chair of the Welsh Association of Stroke Physicians and the Welsh Stroke Alliance, added: "Stroke is a brain attack, a devastating condition that affects the whole family. There can be few families in Wales that have not been touched in some way by stroke. This annual conference provides world class education which underpins our ability to make changes and improvements to reduce the impact and the death rate. We are extremely grateful to the Minister for her continued and enthusiastic support to help us make this happen."

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