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Poots Says Government Can Tackle Stroke and Heart Disease
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HEALTH Minister Edwin Poots has emphasised the importance of improving access to new treatments that offer potential for significant improvement in patient care for those who suffer from Heart Disease and Stroke.

The Minister was speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the All Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke which was held this morning at Parliament Buildings.

The Minister said: “This forum provides an opportunity for elected representatives across all parties to discuss the needs and services for Heart Disease and Stroke sufferers.dn_screen

“We in Government are doing what we can to ensure that patients have access to new and improved treatments when and where they become available.

“Improved treatments can arise from many places. I am proud that, in a short space of time, Northern Ireland has progressed quite a distance towards having an excellent research and innovation system for healthcare.

“The strategic allocation of our regional Health and Social Care R&D fund is enabling Health Trusts to develop research ideas and, through clinical trials and other studies, to generate evidence of the relative effectiveness of new medicines, diagnostics, medical devices or other treatments.”

The Minister outlined current developments in the areas of particular interest to the All Party Group.

He added: “Valuable work has been done by the Regional Stroke Implementation Group to raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of stroke through a successful fast campaign which was followed by a 25% increase in 999 calls for possible stroke in the two months following its launch.

“I am also very supportive of measures which can lead to a reduction in smoking prevalence and, in particular, a reduction in the uptake of smoking by young people.

“It has been estimated in Northern Ireland, that approximately 2,000 children aged between 11 and 16 years take up smoking each year.”

He closed by thanking the All Party Group for its work saying: “Since its inception on 12 June 2012 and under the leadership of Micky Brady, the group has made a valuable contribution in regard to Heart Disease and Stroke.”

The All Party Group on Heart Disease and Stroke was launched on 18 June 2012 to provide a forum for discussion on prevention, rehabilitation, ongoing care and treatment of heart disease and stroke, between Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, people living with these conditions, the charities working in the field, and the health professionals involved.