THE Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Peter Johnston, has joined the Stroke Association to help mark World Stroke Day.
Taking place on 29 October, the day aims to raise awareness of the impact and prevalence of strokes as well as educate on measures to prevent them and how to spot the indicators of a stroke.
Mayor Johnston spoke with Mark Dyer, Volunteering and Community Manager with the Stroke Association, and they discussed the organisation’s recently launched Manifesto and the challenges facing people and their families living with the effects of a stroke.
Speaking about World Stroke Day, the Mayor said: “On behalf of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, I am honoured to help raise awareness of the devastation a stroke can have on so many lives.
“Stroke can happen to anyone, it is no respecter of age, and it can happen at any time. It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults will have a stroke in their lifetime and for those that survive they face significant ongoing challenges including physical disability, communication difficulties, and changes to brain function as well as potential unemployment, loss of income and their social circles.
“Organisations like the Stroke Association provide an essential support service to stroke survivors and their families by ensuring they get the care, advice and assistance they require to help rebuild their lives.
“They are also at the forefront of campaigning to improve conditions for those affected by strokes, raise awareness and fund critical research to help prevent strokes.
“It gives me great pleasure to host this event today and hopefully help draw even greater attention to this very worthwhile cause.”
Marc Dyer said: “I’d like to thank Mayor Johnston for meeting with us and accepting a copy of our new Stroke Association manifesto.
“We’re delighted to see so many councils embracing the spirit of World Stroke Day 2020. We were very encouraged that at the beginning of 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive made a commitment to reconfigure hospital provision for stroke and make improvements in stroke care by the end of the year.
“They emphasised that doing so would deliver better patient outcomes, more stable services and more sustainable staffing in stroke care in Northern Ireland. However, we were very disappointed that the ‘Rebuilding Health and Social Care Services Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland’, published in June 2020, stated that it was ‘unlikely that stroke reforms will progress by end of 2020’.
“While we appreciate the challenges posed by the pandemic for the health and social care sector, the Covid-19 crisis should be seen as an opportunity to reform our health system.
“Change is long overdue and we must do better to improve outcomes for stroke survivors and their families, both now and in the future. Staying as we are is not an option and a lack of progress puts lives and recoveries at risk.”
Further information on the Stroke Association can be found at www.stroke.org.uk