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Friday, 24 April 2009

Wales lags behind when it comes to stroke services

The Royal College of Physicians’ latest report into stroke care services makes for disappointing reading for Wales. There seem to be big geographical differences here, which don’t seem to be occurring in England and Northern Ireland. Has the so-called postcode lottery, seen in drugs and treatment for various forms of cancers, now spread to stroke services? Where you live, should have no bearing on the quality of stroke care you receive.

The report does highlight some areas that have improved, but as is so often the case, there is still plenty more to be achieved, to get Wales just on a par with other UK nations.

Some time ago, BMA Cymru Wales drew attention to the plight of stroke services and patients. In fact, we held a seminar on the issue, inviting Assembly Members to find out more about our concerns. I have to say, rather disappointingly, it was poorly attended by AMs.

No doubt many people reading this blog, will have seen the current TV advert, pointing out the need to act quickly when someone suffers a stroke. That’s to be commended, but we also need to make sure that once a patient reaches hospital, they are able to access the right services. Doctors know only too well how prompt action and the correct treatment can help with rehabilitation and long term damage. That’s why patients should be seen in stroke units up on their arrival at hospital.

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