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