Report warns more money is vital to stop stroke crisis in Wales
WALES needs to invest more money in stroke services to prevent the country “sleepwalking into a crisis”, it has been warned.
A new report by the Stroke Association into current, future and avoidable costs has found that there will be as many as 100,000 stroke survivors living in Wales by 2035 – a rise of 50%.
The charity also claims a third (35,000) of those people will be living with long-term disabilities.
While the survival rate is improving, it is feared the cost of treating and caring for stroke patients on the Welsh NHS is set to almost treble from £133m in 2015 to £379m by 2035.
The report also reveals that more than 110,000 people across the UK could be saved from having a stroke by 2035 if research into the latest stroke prevention procedures was properly funded.
It concludes that a £10m investment into prevention research could change the story and save 114,000 people across the UK from having a “brain attack”.
Currently, the Stroke Association estimates that there are more than 66,000 stroke survivors in Wales, while 65,000 peo- ple are known to have the heart condition atrial fibrillation (AF), which increases a person’s risk of stroke five times.
But the charity has warned that many patients in Wales are on a treatment that is not effectively lowering their stroke risk – or may not even have had the condition diagnosed.
Around 500,000 people have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is the biggest controllable risk factor for stroke.
Yet it’s thought that around 350,000 people in Wales are unaware they have the condition.