Health Minister Tony Ryall welcomes the news that a dedicated stroke unit is opening at Tauranga Hospital next week.
“This is great news for the 300 Bay of Plenty residents who suffer from a stroke each year,” says Mr Ryall.
“The unit will be led by a professor who specialises in stroke care and has been recruited by the district health board (DHB) from Britain.
“Research shows a dedicated stroke unit prevents many people from having a more severe stroke and significantly improves a patient’s recovery after a stroke.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country and one of the biggest causes of disability in older New Zealanders. It is largely preventable, however on average 21 New Zealanders suffer from a stroke each day – two thirds of strokes occur in people over 65 and one third are fatal.
Stroke services in New Zealand were neglected for many years. This government committed, as part of its election manifesto, to provide New Zealanders with better stroke services and have dedicated acute stroke units throughout the country,” says Mr Ryall.
“Our 13 large and medium sized DHBs all now have a dedicated acute stroke unit and we are working towards having 80 per cent of stroke patients treated in a dedicated stroke unit. An audit in 2009 revealed only 39 per cent of stroke patients were being treated in stroke units.
“Stroke services are important as they prevent and reduce significant disability following a stroke, particularly for older people.”
Lakes DHB is developing a new stroke unit which is expected to open in March and Waikato DHB will be expanding their services when they move into their new stroke unit in June.