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More speech therapists to be needed as stroke rates set to rise

Tuesday 23rd May 2017
A predicted increase in stroke rates in the UK is set to create more opportunities for speech therapists. Image: Lighthaunter via iStock
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Stroke rates in the UK are expected to increase by as much as 44 per cent over the next 20 years, according to a new report.

Research carried out by doctors based at King's College London estimates that there will be an increase of one-third (32 per cent) in the number of stroke survivors living in Britain by 2035.

These individuals are likely to require ongoing specialist care from health professionals such as occupational and speech therapists. As a result, more people need to be entering these professions in the coming years to make sure there are enough specialists available to provide the care required by the growing number of stroke victims.

What's more, it's not just in the UK that stroke rates are expected to rise significantly, but also across the rest of Europe, where they are predicted to increase by 34 per cent between now and 2035.

The predicted dramatic increase is expected to be due to the ageing population, with people living for longer on average than ever before, meaning they may be more likely to suffer from health complications as they get older, subsequently requiring extra care.

Professor Christopher McKevitt, co-author of the report, commented: "As the population ages, more people will have a stroke and more will survive long term with disabilities.

"We need to ensure better access to the best acute stroke care for all and we need to focus efforts on improving support for stroke survivors in the months and years after they are sent home from hospital."

Stroke Association chief executive Juliet Bouverie added that the government has a part to play in reorganising stroke care services throughout the UK to make sure provisions are in place for patients when needed. If a restructure does not take place, she warns that patients are "less likely to receive the treatment and care which will save their lives and reduce disability".

Written by Martin Lambert

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