Stroke services in Wales are continuing to improve according to a new report which shows there are more than a thousand fewer deaths from stroke a year compared to a decade ago.
The third all-Wales annual report for stroke sets out the progress the NHS has made in preventing and treating stroke, against the Welsh Labour Government’s stroke delivery plan. It also highlights areas for improvement. The report shows more people are surviving and fewer people are now dying from stroke.
In 2005, 3,158 people died from a stroke in Wales. In 2014 it was 2,317, a 26% fall and a reduction of 841 deaths. Based on a three-year average, Wales has seen a fall of more than 1,000 deaths per year between 2003-05 and 2012-14. An estimated 7,000 people will have a stroke each year in Wales and there are more than 65,000 stroke survivors living in Wales.
Key findings from the report, which covers 2015, include:
- For strokes time matters. Pre-hospital care provided by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has been improving over the last year - an average of 82.8% people who suffered a suspected stroke received a package of pre-hospital care from the ambulance service in 2013-14, rising to 93.8% in 2014-15.
- There is an improved awareness of the symptoms of stroke as a result of campaigns such as FAST or Lower Your Risk of Stroke. These are supporting people to recognise when they are having a stroke and take appropriate action quickly.
- The number of patients receiving clot-busting drugs (thrombolysis) has continued to increase, from 358 in 2012-13 to 501 in 2014-15.
- The number of patients admitted to a stroke ward within 24 hours has continued to improve - during 2014-15 access to a stroke ward has increased from 50.1% in April 2014 to 75.4% in March 2015.
- The percentage of stroke patients spending more than 90% of their time on a stroke unit improved from 63% in 2013-14 to 73% in 2014-15.
- Since 2013-14, the percentage of patients assessed by therapists within 72 hours has increased for all relevant therapy services; from 75% to 90% for occupational therapists, from 92% to 96% for physiotherapists and from 71% to 81% for speech and language therapists.
- Welsh services are above the UK national average for the percentage of patients discharged with a continence plan (drawn up within four weeks) and rehabilitation goals agreed within five days.
The stroke annual report also highlights areas where there needs to be continued improvements. These include the ongoing development of early supported discharge services and community rehabilitation and increasing the number of stroke patients assessed within six months of discharge.
The report can be found in full here.