Wednesday 08 May 2019 03:04:20 PM

McGrath Welcomes Minister’s Statement on Stroke Support
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COUNCILLOR Colin McGrath, local SDLP health spokesperson, has given his approval to a recent statement by NI Health Minister Edwin Poots.

Councillor Colin McGrath has repeated his call for a stroke unit to be set up at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.

Councillor Colin McGrath, SDLP local health spokesperson, has repeated his call for a stroke unit to be set up at the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.

The Health Minister was giving the opening address at the Northern Ireland Multi-Disciplinary Association of Stroke Teams (NIMAST) and UK Stroke Forum Joint Conference in Castlereagh, and said: “There are significant benefits to be gained from reducing the number of strokes which occur, treating more effectively those who suffer a stroke, having better rehabilitation services and providing carers with access to a range of flexible and responsive support services in the community.

“Raising public awareness of the early signs and symptoms of stroke is enormously important. I hope that the F.A.S.T campaign which I launched last year will instil in people’s minds the importance of identifying these early and treating them as a medical emergency.”

This is the second conference of NIMAST and UK Stroke Forum, in addition to speakers from Northern Ireland and across the UK, the Republic of Ireland, speakers from as far away as Norway attended the conference; presenting a great opportunity to share local, national and international experiences and good practice.

Councillor McGrath said: “While I welcome the Health Minister’s comments that there is progress overall in the strategy towards dealing with prevention and treatment of stroke illnesses and attacks and the outcome of these, we always understood there would be a stroke unit at the  Downe Hospital in Downpatrick given the poor roads access we have to the main stroke centres in Belfast.

“Given this distance and the critical time lapse that exists, there can be no doubt that there is a need for such a stroke unit in Downpatrick and the need for quick and effective treatment of stroke sufferers who are put at extra risk because of this distance from a stroke unit..

“I have always campaigned for a stroke unit in the Downe Hospital and will continue to do so. The infrastructure is now in place in Downpatrick and all we need now is the trained stroke personel to staff it.

“I hope that the Minister will now consider this when he reviews the position of the stroke strategy at the Downe Hospital  which is a significant distance from such a vital centre should someone need emergency care. I hope he follows up on his comments and delivers what we have always asked for.”