Every day in Northern Ireland, around 11 people have a stroke and 3 people die as a result. Stroke has devastating consequences for individuals and families.
In addition to providing a range of care services, NICHS campaigns for improvements in government policy and activity relating to stroke.
We are campaigning:
- for increased action to prevent strokes in the first place. We want to see more action taken to raise awareness, detect and manage the stroke risk relating to conditions such as Atrial Fibrillation (more info on AF below) and TIAs (mini-stroke) and supporting people to make healthy lifestyle choices.
- for more extensive community rehabilitation and support services to be made available to people after a stroke in the community with regular review meetings.
- for the review and improvement of acute hospital stroke services, increased specialisation in Hyper Acute Stroke Units and the development of new services to save lives and reduce disability.
- for voluntary and community stroke services to be a key part of the stroke pathway and for more emphasis to be put on improving quality of life and independence by ensuring all survivors have access to Taking Control self-management support.
We launched our new Stroke Manifesto 'Stroke Reform in Northern Irteland: Time for Action' In September 2021 as a call on the Department of Health and the Northern Ireland Executive to act on stroke reform in NI to improve stroke prevention, treatment and care for stroke survivors and their families.
In 2017, we led stroke pre-consultation meetings and workshops with stroke survivors to inform and influence the process of reforming stroke care in Northern Ireland. The formal ‘Reshaping Stroke Care’ consultation on these changes took place two years later in 2019. Progress on these reforms was already slow and political instability and the COVID-19 crisis have sadly further delayed changes.
Northern Ireland urgently needs not just to press on with the Stroke Review but with the development of a wider Stroke Strategy that addresses prevention, acute care, rehabilitation and support in the community, and our Manifesto outlines ten objectives to achieve improvements across these areas.
We launched our new stroke manifesto document with a ‘hybrid’ online and in-person event taking place at the Long Gallery at Stormont. The event was attended by political figures and leading health officials. The event was addressed by leading stroke consultants from Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland as well as the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Sir Michael McBride.