Time running out to futureproof stroke services

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   15th Oct 2021

Four years on and the National Stroke Strategy is still not published

The Irish Heart Foundation is seeking urgent clarification from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, on the publication of the new National Stroke Strategy along with a funded implementation plan following its omission from announcements of €50 million in new funding for the HSE National Clinical Strategies in Budget 2022.

In a letter to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, the Foundation warned that time is running out to futureproof already chronically underfunded services in the face of a stroke rate that is predicted to soar to 12,000 cases a year in Ireland within the next decade.

Research by the University of Oxford for the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) estimates that there will be a 58 per cent increase in stroke incidence here by 2030, due mainly to age demographics, with a 40 per cent increase in the cost to the health service of treating the disease.

“ The failure to even publish the strategy provides a stark demonstration of the low priority for stroke within our health services,"

Mr Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy, The Irish Heart Foundation

“It’s now four years since the then Minister for Health Simon Harris requested a five-year stroke strategy that he said would be accompanied by multi-annual funding to ensure its implementation,” said Director of Advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation Mr Chris Macey.

“The failure to even publish the strategy provides a stark demonstration of the low priority for stroke within our health services, despite the fact that it’s our third biggest killer disease and the biggest cause of acquired disability.

“It also shows a lack of appreciation that an increase in stroke on the scale indicated by the research will not just overwhelm our stroke units, but will create an inevitable spill over that will seriously affect other services in acute hospitals.”

Mr Macey added that it was crucial that Minister Donnelly steps in to make the publication of the new stroke strategy a national health priority, and demands a strict timeframe for the implementation of its provisions.

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