Sinn Féin calls for investment in stroke services

By June Shannon Policy News   |   18th Jun 2018

Sinn Féin Ard Fheis calls for range of supports for stroke patients

A motion calling for the reintroduction of the FAST campaign for stroke awareness was passed by the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis which took place in Belfast last weekend.

According to the motion, “This Ard Fheis recognises that, when it ran last, the FAST campaign to help everyone to achieve a better understanding of the warning signs of stroke, had such a profound impact on public behaviour that there was an 87 per cent increase in the numbers of patients getting to hospital in time for potentially lifesaving clot busting stroke treatment and a 190 per cent hike in awareness of stroke warning signs.”

It also recognised that the incidence of stroke was set to increase by 59 per cent and deaths from stroke by 84 per cent by 2035.

In the motion delegates at the party’s annual Ard Fheis called on the Department of Health to “ensure funding is available to reinstate the FAST Campaign, to ensure that every hospital treating patients with acute stroke has a properly resourced stroke unit,” and for the roll out of “early supported discharge programmes nationally” for stroke patients.

The incidence of stroke is set to increase by 59 per cent and deaths from stroke by 84 per cent by 2035.

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The motion also included a called on the Department to ensure that centres providing thrombectomy -a procedure where doctors mechanically remove the stroke causing clot from the brain-were developed “in conjunction with emergency services to provide access for all suitable stroke patients regardless of location.”

Recently the Oireachtas Health Committee heard from stroke experts that more than half of stroke patients were not attending hospital in a timely manner putting them at risk of worse outcomes. The Committee was also informed that, when it was running, the FAST campaign resulted in a significant increase in the number of stroke patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) within a much shorter time frame.

“Sinn Fein’s support for investment in stroke services is both very welcome and very significant,"

Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy , Irish Heart Foundation

The Irish Heart Foundation has long called for the reintroduction of the FAST Campaign which has been proven to save lives.

Welcoming the news Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation said, “Sinn Fein’s support for investment in stroke services is both very welcome and very significant, demonstrating the party’s recognition that funding in these areas will not only save lives and reduce disability on a massive scale, but will actually reduce the overall cost of stroke to the health service. The cost effectiveness of FAST campaigns, stroke unit development, Early Supported Discharge programmes and thrombectomy have all been proven beyond doubt and under-investment in these areas is resulting in a high toll of entirely preventable death and disability. Small upfront funding can make a huge difference to many, many families the length and breadth of the country without costing the State a penny.”

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