South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed concerns following the publication of the latest National Stroke Care Audit for Scotland which saw Dumfries and Galloway fall down the rankings for patient care.
The report shows that less than 75% of patients received ‘appropriate’ stroke care bundle in 2016 and the region received a ‘red rating’ for its care of patients who are living with strokes in Stroke Spasticity Management, meaning that the service is available but has not been implemented here in Dumfries and Galloway*.
Overall Dumfries and Galloway fell from 2nd in the national rankings for stroke care across Scotland’s health boards to 8th.
Discussing the report Colin Smyth MSP, who is also a Shadow Minister for Health and the Co-Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke said:
“It is deeply worrying that in Dumfries and Galloway our performance in stroke care has fallen from above average to below average and in comparison with other health boards we are now ranked eighth compared to second last year”.
“However, the reality is not a single NHS board in the country received pass marks for its stroke care bundle. It’s clear that the real challenges health boards face due to cuts in Government funding and staff shortages are impacting on services despite the often at times heroic efforts of staff”.
The MSP believes that the release of the annual audit stroke services is an opportune time to raise awareness of stroke and in particular prevention.
Colin Smyth added:
“I recently spoke in a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the issue of stroke awareness because although mortality rates due to stroke have falling by almost 40% across Scotland over the past decade, it still remains Scotland’s third biggest killer just behind cancer and heart disease”.
“Strokes are also responsible for nearly half of all disabilities, which is devastating for those who suffer from a stroke and their families. It also puts a major strain on our health and social care services, with many people who suffer a stroke needing care for years afterwards. That’s why prevention is so important. People should, for example, make sure they get their blood pressure checked on a regular basis- as high blood pressure is a major cause of strokes. Often there are very few, if any, symptoms of high blood pressure which is why it is labelled the silent killer”.