Wednesday 11 May 2017

The number of strokes across the UK is likely to rise by almost half (44%) in the next 20 years, according to a new report published by the Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) and the Stroke Association.

'The Burden of Stroke in Europe' is a comprehensive analysis of 35 European countries. It was carried out by King’s College London, and is published to mark European Stroke Awareness Day and Make May Purple for Stroke. Researchers are warning that throughout Europe, the number of strokes could rise dramatically by 2035 due to our ageing population.

In the UK, there are currently 1.2 million people living with the effects of stroke, and there are over 100,000 strokes every year.

The report also reveals that by 2035:

  • the number of new strokes across Europe is likely to increase by a third (34%)
  • the number of stroke survivors living in the UK is expected to rise by a third (32%).

Juliet Bouverie, our Chief Executive, said: “The number of stroke survivors is set to rise by almost one million people, and that number in the UK is expected to increase by over 30%: that's one of the largest increases in Europe. These are shocking figures, and if they are borne out, health services will face a formidable challenge in tackling a stroke epidemic.

“There are alarming variations in delivering even the basic levels of treatment and care for stroke patients, such as access to stroke units and thrombolysis, not just across Europe, but across the UK. Without reorganisation, stroke patients are less likely to receive the treatment and care which will save their lives and reduce disability. This could ultimately lead to greater costs on their Governments and economies.”

As part of its recommendations, SAFE is calling for each EU member state to have a national stroke strategy, actively supported and sponsored by Government that covers the whole stroke pathway. This should include awareness, prevention, treatment and long-term support.

Juliet continued: “While it's good news that many more people are now surviving a stroke, we also know that their needs are not currently being met after they’ve received initial life-saving treatment. In England, our stroke strategy ends in 2017, leaving us as the only UK nation without a plan for stroke.

"There are big issues still to tackle in basic stroke treatment, care and long-term support which demand Government commitment and a national plan which prioritises stroke and stroke survivors. This General Election, we are calling on candidates to pledge their support to our new plan.”

'The Burden of Stroke in Europe' reports researchers' caution that accurate comparisons between countries are extremely difficult, and advise that their predictions for the future have a significant level of uncertainty.

Professor Christopher McKevitt, an author of the report from King’s College London, said: “Our report shows that your chances of getting the best quality care when you first have a stroke vary widely across Europe, and within individual European states. It also shows that we know very little about what care stroke survivors get after discharge from hospital.

“As the population ages, more people will have a stroke, and more will survive with long-term disabilities. We need to ensure better access to the best acute stroke care for all. We need to focus efforts on improving support for stroke survivors in the months and years after they are sent home from hospital.”

Download the reports:

You can also read our manifesto and help us ensure that stroke remains a priority for the new parliament.

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