Stroke action plan must proceed swiftly, says Bradshaw

Paula Bradshaw Health

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has warned the Department of Health’s stroke action plan must now proceed quickly, and in an interconnected manner, if opportunities are not to be lost dramatically to improve health outcomes.

Health Minister Robin Swann announced the proposed reform of stroke services, which will include the establishment of hyper acute stroke united and acute stroke units, as well as early supported discharge available in all Trusts and survivors receiving a six-month review of their needs.

“I welcome the Department having now assessed responses to the consultation, though I remain concerned the time this is taking and the lack of clearly evidence inter-linkage to other aspects of health response,” she said.

“The consultation was first published three years ago. As we know with stroke itself, time is essential, and that applies also to the reshaping of stroke services.

“Furthermore, the reconfiguration is tied to other long overdue reforms, such as that of the Ambulance Service. What was envisaged in 2016 by the expert panel chaired by Professor Rafael Bengoa was a full transformation of the health and care system, not just of individual parts.

“Alliance re-states its full support for the Bengoa proposals and will base its assessment of the next stage of reshaping stroke services against them.”