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Unit to Open Monday, 10th March 2014

David Stanton Fine Gael TD for Cork East received confirmation, during question time, in Dail Eireann last week, from the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD that the dedicated stroke unit in Cork University Hospital (CUH) will open on Monday, 10th March 2014. Funding for the unit was allocated to CUH through the National Stroke Programme 2012 however the opening was delayed due to difficulties recruiting specialist staff.

“I am very pleased that, at last, CUH stroke unit will open in three weeks now that all the necessary infrastructural upgrades have been completed and all staff recruited. Minister Reilly advised CUH are now putting the final measures in place to open the stroke unit which will provide 12 specialist beds for the stroke service”, said Deputy Stanton.

The CUH unit is the final dedicated stroke facility top open out of the 28 envisaged under the HSE National Stroke Programme. The Stroke Programme aims to provide rapid access to high quality stroke services to both save lives and prevent further strokes. A major component of these services is intra-arterial thrombolysis which involves the administration of a drug to break up clots.

“Minister Reilly said that he has prioritised improvements to thrombolysis setting a target to increase the rate of thrombolysis from 1% to 7.5% by the end of 2013. This has been extremely successful with the HSE reporting a national stroke thrombolysis rate of 10.5% for the third quarter of 2013 which exceeds targets and is comparable to international rates. As a result Ireland has moved from the bottom of the European league table to the very top in just an 18 month period.

“It is clear that changes delivered by the Health Service through the National Stroke Programme are having a real impact on patient safety and quality of life. Access to safe stroke thrombolysis is now provided in 23 hospitals throughout the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ambulance access protocols are also in place to ensure acute stroke patients are taken to the neareset hospital providing thrombolysis services.

“Although this service was already available in CUH, the new dedicated stroke ward will allow for an enhancement of this service and others relating to stroke patient care. I understand that figures indicate that treatment and care in a specialist stroke unit can save as much as one life per week and reduce by three the number of patients depending on long term care. The opening of the CUH stroke unit is very good news for the people of Cork as it will, undoubtedly, greatly enhance patient outcomes in the Cork area.