'Crisis' warnings after highest number of stroke and heart failure cases in a decade

Charities have warned of an increasing risk of “crisis” in heart failure and stroke care, after new figures showed the highest number of stroke and heart failure cases in a decade in 2019/2020.

There were 9,229 cases of stroke in 2019/20 and 5,401 of heart failure, according to figures from Public Health Scotland.

The rate of discharge for both has increased in the last decade, leading campaigners to warn of the risks of patients being prematurely discharged back into the community, only to return later and increase pressure on services.

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Deaths from stroke and heart disease have each decreased by more than 30 per cent in the last ten years.

Ron BowesRon Bowes
Ron Bowes

“This reports shows that we’re making progress in helping people to survive. But it’s also a big warning sign of the major challenges facing our health services for years to come,” said Lawrence Cowan, Campaigns Director of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.

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He added: “Many people are leaving hospital scared and alone – not knowing where to turn. If we don’t give people the right support in the community they are more likely to end up back in hospital or needing more complex care.”

The Stroke Association in Scotland called for improvements in stroke prevention and treatment, especially as figures showed deaths were 49 per cent higher in the most deprived areas.

“The welcome decrease in stroke mortality over the last decade by 33.3 per cent can be attributed to advances in stroke treatment and care in Scotland,” said John Watson, Associate Director.

"However, stroke remains Scotland’s fourth biggest killer and the need for improvements in stroke prevention, treatment and care is recognised by all, including the Scottish Government.”

Chest, Heart and Stroke’s ‘No Life Half Lived’ campaign aims to support patients returning home after stroke and heart failure.

Ron Bowes, 77, from Rosyth, had a heart attack during lockdown in April 2020.

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He was “very anxious” when he returned from hospital, he said, as he lives alone, but was comforted by support from the charity.

“I believe it is vital, especially in those early days to have access to that support and it should be routinely available to everyone who needs it,” he said.

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