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Stroke Incidence Still a Concern

Stroke Incidence Still a Concern

“The rate of stroke incidence is still a growing concern”, according to Mark Vivian the new CEO of the NZ Stroke Foundation. The NZ Stroke Foundation is concerned the incidence of new strokes continues to rise annually. Current figures suggest 20 New Zealanders suffer a new stroke each day, but that rate is increasing.

“Current trends suggest that if more isn’t done to prevent strokes, the rate of increase will increase three-fold over the next thirty years. That’s 60 new strokes per day, over 20,000 new strokes annually”, says Mark Vivian the new CEO of the Stroke Foundation. “This incidence is simply not acceptable. Neither those who suffer strokes nor our economy can afford that level of stroke incidence.”

Currently NZ spends $138M per year for stroke hospital services alone.

The NZ Stroke Foundation has been instrumental in developing guidelines for hospital services and is working with DHB’s throughout NZ to implement these as best practice standards. “This work has been pioneered by the Foundation and driven by the outgoing CEO, Brian O’Grady. It has been absolutely critical to improved clinical outcomes and is ongoing. We’re fortunate to be able to retain Brian in a part-time capacity to continue these projects” says Mr Vivian.

The Stroke Foundation began with aftercare stroke clubs because there was no follow up service available for survivors or their families and celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Mr Vivian expects the emphasis of the Foundation’s work over the next year will remain the same. “Fundamentally we have to keep working to reduce the risks of strokes, increase the effectiveness and responsiveness of medical services, and enhance aftercare services for survivors. Stroke is currently the third largest killer of New Zealanders and the greatest cause of major disability. There’ll be no changing the Foundation’s commitment to reducing this statistic.”

The Foundation faces a challenging future financially. “Changes to Pharmac purchasing agreements have affected sponsorships and we’re highly dependant on donations and grants. We’re determined to maintain the Foundation in order to address the needs of stroke survivors and their families into the future.”


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