While progress has been made in the area of stroke at hospitals around the country – in Kerry there is no acute stroke unit.
That’s according to Kerry Fianna Fáil Deputy John Brasil who outlined to the Dáil critical findings of a report on stoke services in the hospital.
Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Brassil explained how University Hospital Kerry does not have a dedicated stroke unit, a clinical lead or a nurse specialist in stroke treatment.
This deficit impacts on death and disability and stroke standards, early swallow screening, ongoing staff training, patient and family education and support.
The report adds mortality for ischemic strokes are the cause of the majority of strokes and rates are 40% higher than that of the national average.
It concludes that University Hospital Kerry is not providing an organised stroke service for its population.
While national stroke services have improved significantly since the stroke audit in 2008, this is not reflected in University Hospital Kerry he said and since the departure of a dedicated stroke specialist three years ago, that position has not been filled.
In response, Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne said she appreciated Deputy Brassil’s Deputy’s said she was advised by the hospital that recruitment and retention of the required staff is proving to be challenging.
She added business cases had been prepared for additional support staff such that a stroke unit may be established and these cases will be considered by the South/South West Hospitals Group in the first instance and then by the HSE acute hospital division.