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29th January 2016

Stroke survival rates in Wales show 'significant' improvement, report finds

The number of people surviving a stroke has significantly improved in Wales, with the death rate falling by more than 1,000 a year compared with a decade ago, a new report has revealed.

The third all-Wales annual report for stroke sets out the progress the NHS has made in preventing and treating stroke against the Welsh Government’s stroke delivery plan.

The report also highlights how awareness campaigns and better prevention have helped to reduce the number of people having strokes, while faster interventions have increased people’s chances of surviving and returning to independence as quickly as possible.

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.

Stroke survival rates in Wales - report findings

Wales has seen a fall of more than 1,000 deaths per year from strokes between 2003-05 and 2012-14, based on a three-year average. While 3,158 people died from a stroke in Wales in 2005, in 2014 the figure dropped by 26% to 2,317.

  • 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.

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