WQ85197 (e) Tabled on 23/05/2022

What guidance has the Minister issued to local health boards about promoting awareness of the services provided by local stroke support groups?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 31/05/2022

As a government and as Ministers, our responsibility is to set the strategic direction for the health service, in this instance through specific policies related to stroke and rehabilitation [1] [2] [3], aspects of which I referred to in my previous response to you (WQ85107), and other strategies, which set out the Welsh Government’s broader strategic context [4] [5]

Together, these set out the health and care landscape we want to see in Wales, emphasising areas of focus, including new models of care, seamless care, integration, co-production and co-ordination and our values including, proactively working with people, and working in true partnership. They describe the outcomes and standards we expect to see in high-quality, patient-focused services, highlight the role of the NHS in the wider partnership agenda, and making the best use of all professionals, providers, and sectors.

We continue to invest £4m to support the Stroke Implementation and the Neurological Conditions Implementation groups. These are made up of a wide range of statutory and third sector partners, including the Stroke Association,  and their role is to improve services for everyone who has had a stroke or has a neurological condition. We are also continuing to invest £1.2m annually to improve access for people who need neuro-rehabilitation services in Wales. 

It is for health boards to enact the vision, values, and principles that are clearly set out; collaborating with their partners to ensure all opportunities are capitalised on to support the optimal outcomes of their patients. This includes working within multi-professional partnerships (within and across organisational boundaries), to co-produce care plans with their local populations and patient groups to ensure people are discharged safely and supported effectively in that discharge, with seamless care and continued community rehabilitation and reablement, to enable them to undertake their valued daily occupations and live as independently as possible, as set out in their care and recovery plan.  

We are doing all we can to help everyone in Wales understand and access the welfare benefits available to them. Our national Claim What’s Yours campaign engages with people across all platforms, including TV, radio, and social media, raising their awareness of entitlements, and encouraging them to phone Advicelink Cymru to get the help they need to navigate the complex welfare benefit system.

As well as the traditional platforms, our campaign is advertised on pharmacy bags meaning anyone accessing health services and obtaining medication via a prescription will also be made aware of their financial entitlements.

Our Single Advice Fund (SAF) is extremely effective at reaching out to our most vulnerable citizens, with more than 80% of people accessing SAF services self-identifying as coming from a priority group, including disabled people and older people. Since January 2020, the SAF benefit advice services have supported people to claim more than £67m of additional income.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board operates a suite of support for people who have experienced a stroke, including a Living Well After Stroke service which is resuming face-to-face visits. The health board also provides a team of therapists and support workers to support people to return home; an early supported discharge programme; a team of psychologists who provide life-after-stroke support and two life-after-stroke wellbeing practitioners. In addition, there are educational, group and peer mentorship opportunities for people living with stroke.

If you require more detailed information about specific local services and support provided by Aneurin Bevan UHB, you may wish to write directly to the chief executive, who will be able to outline the local response in place to support people after a stroke.

[1] The quality statement for stroke | GOV.WALES

[2] stroke-delivery-plan-2017-to-2020.pdf (gov.wales)

[3] Rehabilitation: a framework for continuity and recovery 2020 to 2021 [HTML] | GOV.WALES

[4] A Healthier Wales (gov.wales)

[5] National Clinical Framework 8.0 (gov.wales)