Stroke scheme aims to reduce care needs

A £9m stroke programme as part of the NHS long-term plan could save at least 200 lives and reduce pressure on care services.

The NHS England scheme will run until next March across 23 clinical commissioning groups and will see almost 20,000 people at higher risk of experiencing a stroke receive targeted checks and treatment in GP surgeries. They will receive a personalised treatment plan developed with their GP.

It aims to spot heart conditions earlier, preventing around 700 strokes, saving lives and stopping long-term health problems, including disability.

NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: ‘Not only is stroke one of the biggest killers in our country, but it leads to life-changing and often devastating long-term harm for many others, so by spotting the risks early, the NHS will not only prevent serious harm to the people affected, but avoid the need for aftercare which puts additional pressure on the health service.’

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association said: ‘As well as being devastating for patients and their families, strokes are estimated to cost the NHS around £3bn per year, with additional costs to the economy of a further £4bn in lost productivity, disability and informal care. Treating someone for five years after they have a stroke can cost as much as £45,000.’