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Scottish Stroke Charity Chief challenges MSPs to do more for stroke

News release

John Wilson, Chief Executive of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland has challenged Scottish politicians to do more for Stoke in advance of a Scottish Parliament debate on stroke care, scheduled for 5pm on Wednesday 21st June.  The debate, on a motion put forward by Alexander Stewart, MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, will highlight the number of people affected by stroke in Scotland and the variable aftercare and support available.

John Wilson, Interim CEO at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland welcomes the spotlight that MSPs are tomorrow putting on the devastating effect that stroke has on people and their families across Scotland.

With the positive stories we all hear about improving survival rates from stroke, there is a danger that people think that the ‘job’s done’.  But the reality is that because of the advances in medical science more people than ever, of all ages and from all walks of life, are living with the physical and mental impact of a stroke.  That’s why Scotland’s politicians must do more for stroke survivors.  The picture across health boards for funding services like ours is increasingly challenging and we can’t reach all the people we want to.

The NHS does a fantastic job of stopping people dying of a stroke.  But we need to do more than stop people dying – people need help to take back their lives after what can be devastating medical event.  That’s where Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland comes in – we are here to provide whatever support people need so people can reach their goals for rehabilitation and recovery. They might need help being able to return to work, or to develop their confidence to be able to even leave the house.  We are here too for the families and carers of people after a stroke, whose lives too are often changed forever.

We need Scotland’s politicians to highlight the importance of long-term support for stroke survivors, and campaign with us for better resources.”

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland welcomes this spotlight being put on a devastating condition which affects some 14,000 people every year in Scotland.  Through advances in medical care many more people are surviving what in previous generations would be a fatal ‘stroke from God’.  But that means that many more people are living with the long-term effects of having a stroke, and we know that those numbers will only continue to increase.  The most recent figures available show there are 124,000 people currently living in Scotland who have had a stroke.

Stroke impacts people’s physical and mental health, leaving people at risk of anxiety, depression, social isolation and loneliness.  It is the biggest cause of disability, some of which can be ‘hidden’ - about a third of people who survive a stroke are left with the communication difficulties caused by aphasia.  Aphasia occurs when the communication areas of the brain are damaged by a stroke, and it can affect a person’s ability to speak, understand, read, write and use numbers, but everyone is affected differently.   Everyday activities we take for granted suddenly become a source of frustration and anxiety.

The long-term support that people need in order to regain their lives cannot be provided by an NHS which is already stretched to the limit.  Once people return home from hospital they can often feel ‘abandoned’ by the system, with very little dedicated support. Charities like Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland are vital in meeting that need, and in reaching people across communities.  The impact of the life-changing effects of stroke cannot be underestimated and without our ongoing support people are more likely to be readmitted to hospital and visit their GP more frequently.


About Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland

  • We help improve the quality of life for the increasing number of people in Scotland living with long-term conditions – 500,000 people are affected by chest and heart conditions and stroke – some 10% of Scotland’s population. These are Scotland’s biggest killers, the biggest cause of disability, and they affect more people than cancer.
  • We are uniquely wholly Scottish, and receive no funding from Scottish Government. Most of our income relies on fundraising, retail, legacies, and trusts.
  • We put people at the centre of what we do – not their health conditions – asking what matters to them and providing them with the support they need to reach their goals and get their lives back after a life changing illness. We do this by funding 100 staff to provide advice and information and direct support in the community which helps people build their confidence to manage their condition.
  • We work locally with health boards and local authorities, and nationally with the NHS and Scottish Government.
  • Our specialist Advice Line nurses run our free, confidential service providing information and advice to families, carers, service users, health and social care professionals.
  • We rely on our 1,500 volunteers to deliver services and fundraise for us and we are the largest national organisation to date to be re-accredited with the Quality Award Investing in Volunteers.
  • Our services include specialist stroke nurses provided in partnership with six health board areas; we provide one-to-one community based support for survivors and peer support groups across Scotland’s communities and deliver communication support for people living with aphasia
  • We produced award winning web-based resources including SelfHelp4Stroke, Stroke4Carers, stroke education training, and health information and advice at


Media enquiries: Katy Aitken, Senior Press Officer
Tel:  0131 225 6963

Date:                                 20th June 2017


Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland
2nd Floor, Hobart House
80 Hanover Street

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

Your donation can help people do more than just survive – you can help them really live.


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