[B]ay Health and Care Partners (BHCP) is aiming to reduce the number of premature deaths from stroke by 50% in the next two years following the launch of the Morecambe Bay Stroke Prevention Programme.
The programme was officially launched by Professor David Walker, Medical Director at UHMBT, and Carnforth GP, Dr David Wrigley, on Wednesday 13 December with a series of presentations and discussions at Kendal’s Auction Mart.
Despite high profile national campaigns aimed at raising people’s awareness of the key factors that cause strokes, Morecambe Bay has a higher stroke incidence than the national average.
There are several unique factors which place the Morecambe Bay population at a higher risk of stroke. One example is the age of the Morecambe Bay population is higher than the national average; therefore more strokes will be recorded simply because more of the population is older. Nationally the 30 day risk of mortality from stroke is reducing, but this is not being demonstrated in the Bay area, plus a higher than national average number of young people are suffering strokes.
Following on from the success of national campaigns such as F.A.S.T. and Know Your Numbers, renewed momentum is required to affect real change to ensure better health outcomes for the population of Morecambe Bay.
The F.A.S.T. campaign was launched in 2011 and just two months after the adverts went live, the NHS in England saw a 24 per cent rise in stroke related 999 calls, and a 16 per cent rise in stroke sufferers being seen quicker.
The Bay-Wide Stroke Prevention Programme will bring together several partners to create and deliver initiatives aiming to prevent, detect and protect people from suffering strokes, along with wider initiatives about how to ‘manage’ and ‘recover’.
Stakeholders in attendance at the launch included General Practitioners, Consultants, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Speech Therapists, Pharmacists, researchers and representatives from North West Ambulance Service, Stroke Association, North of England Neurological Association, and health and wellbeing boards.
The event also saw a new website launched, bay-widestrokeprevention.co.uk which will help to inform the public on stroke prevention, as well as social media channels on Facebook @Baystrokeprevention and Twitter @bay_stroke.
Professor David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT said: “Stroke is one of the major causes of death and disability in our population but much of the impact is preventable. The Bay-wide stroke prevention programme is an ambitious programme bringing together health services, Local Authorities, Community and Voluntary Sector Organisations and the public and communities in Morecambe Bay to reduce the impact of this disease.
“It is fantastic to see so many individuals and organisations committing to support this programme in so many different ways.”
Dr David Wrigley, General Practitioner, Carnforth, Lancashire added: “I am delighted to be involved in the launch of the Stroke Prevention Programme for the Morecambe Bay area. We have seen similarly ambitious campaigns have success in Bradford and Leicester.
“The launch event in Kendal was really well received and we are now looking for feedback and participation from key stakeholders in order to develop the plan further and move things forward. The next step will see us present the feedback to the board with the ultimate aim of reducing the 30 day risk of mortality from stroke.”