Funding announced for £6m Cardiff stroke rehab centre
A rehabilitation unit for patients recovering from strokes is to be opened in Cardiff, it has been announced.
The £6m centre of excellence at University Hospital Llandough will include services currently based at Cardiff Royal Infirmary.
The Welsh Assembly Government, which is funding the scheme, said it would improve services by bringing them under one roof.
The 47-bed centre is due to open in August.
Multi-disciplinary teams will assess patients and prepare individually-tailored rehabilitation programmes.
A treatment called neuroplasticity, which helps the brain adapt and change after a stroke, will be available to speed up recovery and cut stays in hospital.
Patients will be supported by a stroke outreach service when they leave hospital.
End Quote Edwina Hart Health minister
This centre is an example of our continued commitment to investing in frontline services”
The assembly government said the plans for the centre from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board met its strategy to improve stroke care across Wales.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said: "Strokes can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families.
"This new centre will reduce duplication and improve care by bringing together health professionals with the skills and expertise in stroke care and rehabilitation."'Commitment'
AMs will debate the assembly government's capital programme for the NHS in the Senedd on Tuesday.
Ministers plan to freeze health spending next year, but the Conservatives want it to continue to rise in line with inflation. Opponents have accused the Tories of failing to explain where the money would come from.
"This centre is an example of our continued commitment to investing in frontline services," Mrs Hart added.
"This investment is part of our overall strategy to reduce the incidence of stroke and efforts to improve stroke rehabilitation.
"This will be achieved through more education and awareness as well as speeding up access to treatment to minimise the impact of a stroke.
"Rehabilitation is essential to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families."
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board chairman David Francis said: "This will enable us to provide a single centre of excellence for stroke rehab services for the people of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan at University Hospital Llandough."
Mr Francis said the rehabilitation centre would build on the work already being done by the board to improve stroke services.
This has included piloting Wales' first 24/7 thrombolysis programme (to break down blood clots) and the investment in telemedicine (audiovisual technology to improve patient care) on behalf of NHS Wales.
Welsh Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Veronica German welcomed the investment but said the assembly government was "playing catch-up with the rest of the UK after years of neglect".
"While I have seen pockets of good practice in Wales, stroke treatment on the whole is simply not good enough and this Labour-Plaid government is letting down thousands of stroke patents," she said.
Conservative spokesman Nick Ramsay said the assembly government's plans would "cut" £1bn from the NHS over three years.
He said: "Welsh Conservatives are the only party committed to protecting the NHS budget."