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Specialised stroke unit will enhance services at Altnagelvin Hospital in 2022
28 Mar 2019
Stroke treatment at Altnagelvin Hospital will be enhanced by 2022 as part of a drive to “modernise” the service across Northern Ireland. Altnagelvin is currently one of the destinations providing thrombolysis and there is a stroke ward on site, however, the Derry hospital features as a Hyperacute Stroke Unit (HASU) in each of the six options included in a consultation document released this week. A department of health spokesperson said: “A HASU is highly specialised, providing care in the 72 hours after a stroke. It will be supported by key infrastructure including Consultant-led Emergency Departments, access to investigations and scanning, and a highly skilled stroke multidisciplinary team. “The document commits to implementing the new model of HASUs by 2022.” At the moment in Northern Ireland not everyone gets the same support, some people don’t have access to important treatments or specialist staff in their local hospitals, some people do not get to the right place soon enough to have the treatments that could help. Two leading health charities have welcomed the announcement that a formal consultation on reshaping stroke services has been launched. Neil Johnston, Public Affairs adviser for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke commented: “Stroke can be devastating and it often has a life-changing impact on individuals and their families. Modernising stroke services will help patients get better treatment and support. “We need to change to save lives, prevent serious disability and ensure patients and their families get the on-going support they desperately need. In addition we hope the consultation addresses the steps that can be taken to prevent strokes. Reform is overdue and we are delighted that the consultation is going to start this month” Meanwhile, Brenda Maguire, Head of Influencing for the Stroke Association described stroke as a “devastating condition” which can change lives in an instant. Stroke can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time and is the third biggest killer in Northern Ireland and the leading cause of adult disability. She expressed “delight” that the Department of Health is moving forward and exploring options to modernise and improve stroke services. “Reform is urgently needed and will save lives, reduce disabilities and help everyone affected by stroke to access the on-going support they need to rebuild their lives. “There is clear evidence that reshaping stroke services works – creating larger Hyper Acute Units (HASUs) with the equipment and experts to treat stroke patients, all day, every day as well as creating more sustainable services. We believe everyone affected by stroke should get the best treatment and care possible. Reorganising stroke services will help achieve that.” She added: “We will be carefully reviewing the proposals and working with people affected by stroke, carers and experts in the coming weeks to develop our response. “We firmly believe this is an exciting opportunity to create a world class stroke service for Northern Ireland. We would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to have their say during this important process.” A consultation seeking the views of the public was launched on Tuesday, March 26, and closes on June 18 of this year. To have your say visit: www.health-ni.gov.uk/rehaping-stroke-care
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