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Will the Minister outline what the timescales are for the development of hyperacute stroke units in Wales?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services Answered on 04/12/2019

The Welsh Government’s vision is for all people of all ages to have the lowest possible risk of having a stroke, and, when it does occur, to have an excellent chance of surviving and returning to independence as quickly as possible.

Hyperacute Stroke Units (HASUs) increase this chance by maximising the sustainability and quality of services and the capacity to deliver seven day, consultant led stroke services.

There are a number of challenges that health boards must overcome to deliver fully functional HASUs in Wales: there must be a sufficient skilled workforce, access to mechanical thrombectomy and effective repatriation arrangements to sufficient community and rehabilitation services. The rurality of Wales also makes HASUs more complicated to deliver than in more urban inner city regions.

Work is ongoing to address these challenges and the Stroke Implementation Group has funded health boards to progress the development of HASUs by supporting the preparatory work needed and progress has been made:

  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has moved to a single admitting site at the Royal Gwent Hospital, which has 8 stroke consultants in place and is almost at HASU status.
  • Hywel Dda and Swansea Bay University Health Boards have a joint plan for a HASU at Morriston Hospital.
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has developed a business case to progress.
  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has a comprehensive stroke unit at University Hospital Wales with neuroradiology, interventional neuroradiology and neurosurgery.
  • Further work on whether a HASU is needed in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board is being progressed following the recent health board boundary changes.

It would not be appropriate for me to set specific timescales for the establishment of HASUs, but I do expect to see continued progress and regularly discuss HASU development at my meetings with health board chairs and chief executives.

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