HSE Outlines Developments in Stroke Services

18th April 2008

To mark the Irish Heart Foundation's Annual Stroke Study Day, the Health Service Executive (HSE) today provided a comprehensive outline on current services for patients with stroke. Dr. Emer Shelley, Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the HSE spoke at the event and presented an update on the planning of Stroke Services in Ireland.

In 2007, the HSE carried out a public consultation on stroke services. Sixty-nine submissions were received from people and families living with stroke, health care professionals, voluntary and commercial organisations. These submissions are informing service planning for acute and continuing stroke care.

The findings of the Irish National Audit of Stroke Care (INASC) funded by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Department of Health and Children were published last week. In mid-2006 each hospital provided information to INASC on the organisation of acute stroke care.

There have been a number of service developments in the last two years since the INASC researchers collected the data for the audit, funded by extra monies in hospitals' allocations which have permitted good advances in the comprehensive nature and spread of services for stroke.

There are now acute stroke units in 6 hospitals -

  • Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin;
  • St. James's Hospital, Dublin;
  • South Tipperary General, Clonmel;
  • Our Lady's Hospital, Navan;
  • Sligo General;
  • Portiuncula Hospital, Galway.

Two hospitals are building or refurbishing a stroke unit, to be opened within the next 3 months - St. Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny and Connolly Hospital, Dublin.

Overall, by June 2008, there will be 45 dedicated beds for acute stroke, in addition to those accessed by stroke patients in the Acute Medical Assessment Unit in St. James's.

Additionally, developments of services in the community will enhance services for patients with stroke. The 97 fully functioning primary care teams that have so far been established in various areas across the country provide important rehabilitation services including physiotherapy and speech and language therapy. Stroke patients are also benefiting from the rollout of increased numbers of more complex home care packages which can offer improved care in the patient's home. For those who require less complex home support, the HSE has increased the number of home help hours to more than 11 million per annum and this is aimed at providing improved support to these and other clients.

A review of current stroke service provision is under way, as a basis for an Action Plan for Stroke. The Plan will be consistent with guidance from the Cardiovascular Health Policy Group established by the Department of Health and Children in 2007. The Group will report on policy for cardiac and stroke services and HSE staff are contributing to that review.

Dr. Emer Shelley today pointed out that -

"Stroke can be devastating for the person and their family. Fortunately, some patients make a good recovery and a substantial proportion retain a reasonable level of function afterwards. Some however are left with major disability, requiring ongoing care either at home or in a long-stay facility. Our review of current stroke service provision will be vital in meeting the needs of such patients. Prevention of stroke will also form an important component of the HSE's plans to improve stroke services.

The HSE is committed to building on work already underway to improve access to high quality services for patients throughout the country".

View contact details for all Irish Hospitals here


For more information, please contact:

Alex Connolly, Head of HSE National Press Office

01-6352840 087- 6184450



Last updated on: 18 / 04 / 2008