May 28, 2021
Sinn Féin MPs meet with Stroke Association – Mickey Brady MP

Sinn Féin MPs meet with Stroke Association – Mickey Brady MP

Sinn Féin MPs have met with the Stroke Association to discuss the urgent need for action on stroke services and aftercare. The MPs have also written to the Health Minister Robin Swann to raise these concerns.
Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said: “It is very concerning to hear that stroke services across the north are currently spread too thin and that many units are struggling to maintain the quality care and staffing levels required.

“While there is appreciation that the pandemic response has been to the fore, there remains an unacceptable variation in the standards and accessibility for stroke care services. When 20% of all stroke patients are eligible for the clot-busting drug thrombolysis but the numbers receiving it range from 22% in one stroke unit to 7% in another; something is clearly wrong.
“The Department of Health needs to, as a matter of urgency, transform the wider stroke pathway including community and rehabilitation services in partnership with the people who use and deliver stroke services to create a sustainable and high-quality service for everyone affected by stroke.
“The Department must also outline a timescale for ‘Reshaping Stroke Care’, which has been on pause for over a year now. In the south, stroke improvement plans have managed to continue alongside the pandemic.
“A stroke has more than just a physical impact and has considerable cognitive and psychological repercussions on a stroke survivor, it is a life changing event that can happen to anyone. 
“Sinn Féin will continue to press for increased attention to be given to the emotional and psychological support needs of stroke survivors and their family members and carers.”

SINN FEIN LETTER TO MINISTER SWANN

Dear Minister Swann, 

On 27 May, my Sinn Féin MP colleagues and I attended a briefing meeting hosted by the Stroke Association in the north of Ireland.  

We were very concerned to hear that stroke services in the north are currently being spread too thin and that many units are struggling to maintain the quality of care and staffing levels required. 

The need for reform of stroke services in the north has long been recognised. However, not least due to the Covid-19 pandemic, progress to date has been slow. While it is appreciated that the pandemic-response necessitated a lot of attention, now is the time to progress stroke reform and for your Department to move forward with improvement of the whole stroke pathway. This includes everything from: prevention, to acute care, to long-term support.  

As Sinn Féin MPs, we call on the Department of Health to set out how you intend to transform stroke services in partnership with those who use and deliver these services in order to create a sustainable and high-quality service for everyone affected by stroke in the north of Ireland. 

As a first step, we request an update on the proposed timescale and next steps for the Reshaping Stroke Care process, which has been on pause for over a year now due to the pandemic. We must ensure that every stroke patient consistently receives the recommended standard of care in as we continue to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We are also committed that stroke survivors should receive accessible, needs-based, high quality support and rehabilitation to help them rebuild their lives after they leave hospital. We ask what consideration there has been for a new, regional support pathway for people affected by stroke. 

We look forward to your response in this matter. 

Is mise le meas, 

Mickey Brady, MP for Newry & Armagh 

co-signed 

Órfhlaith Begley, MP for West Tyrone 

John Finucane, MP for North Belfast 

Michelle Gildernew, MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone 

Chris Hazzard, MP for South Down 

Paul Maskey, MP for West Belfast 

Francie Molloy, MP for Mid Ulster 

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