Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
Today, I am publishing our new quality statement for stroke, which replaces the current stroke delivery plan for Wales and will drive improvements in stroke care for people in Wales.
A Healthier Wales committed us to developing a national clinical plan, which would set out how specialist services and hospital-based services would be provided, together with the skills and technologies needed to support them. As work on its development progressed, the plan evolved into the National Clinical Framework, which encompasses all clinical services provided by the NHS, whether specialist or general.
The National Clinical Framework is underpinned by a suite of quality statements, which set out how we want to see individual clinical services develop and improve over the medium term. They are supported by detailed clinical pathways and service specifications, which will inform NHS delivery.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Wales and it can have a significant long-term impact on survivors. There are currently almost 70,000 stroke survivors living in Wales, and an estimated 7,400 people experience a stroke each year. Stroke can change lives in an instant, but with the right support, people can make a good recovery.
The quality statement for stroke has been developed in partnership with the Stroke Implementation Group and a range of key partners, including the Stroke Association. It focuses improving services across Wales and reducing variations in care. The statement also describes what we should all expect to see from our stroke services in Wales – with a focus on safe, timely, effective, person-centred, efficient and equitable care.
To achieve the vision set out in the quality statement for stroke, we need a strong focus on cross-working with other groups to address areas such as public health, prevention, rehabilitation, care for the critically ill and people who are at the end of their lives. It also requires close collaboration with other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions and diabetes.
Following publication of the quality statement, the next step will be to develop a new national delivery plan for stroke in Wales to drive forward the many commitments it contains. The delivery plan will be taken forward under the leadership of Dr Shakeel Ahmad, our national clinical lead for stroke, supported by the Stroke Implementation Group. Dr Ahmad will also be supporting health boards to develop a network of comprehensive stroke centres that work across boundaries to improve all aspects of stroke care.
We are committed to improving support for stroke survivors and helping them to rebuild their lives after a stroke. I look forward to working with all our partners in the months and years ahead to deliver the important commitments set out in quality statement.
The quality statements for heart conditions and cancer and National Clinical Framework were published in March 2021.