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Monday, 30 October 2017

National action urged to tackle rising cost of strokes as annual costs hit £26 billion

Written by Jemma Crew

Strokes are costing the UK £26 billion annually and this could triple within 20 years if action is not taken, charity figures suggest.

A new report by the Stroke Association found that strokes are taking a financial toll three times higher than the previous estimate in 2009.

Researchers believe the current cost could triple to £75 billion by 2035, due to a growing ageing population, increasing numbers of survivors and rising care costs.

Currently informal care and private treatment accounts for most of the cost (£15.8 billion), while £5.2 billion is spent on formal social care, and £3.4 billion on care by the NHS.

Lost productivity in the workplace costs employers an additional £1.6 billion annually.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said "radical changes" needed to be made in how the condition was managed.

She said: "The majority of the vast financial burden caused by stroke is shouldered by thousands of families and carers, who give up everything, including their jobs, to look after loved ones whose lives are turned upside down in an instant by stroke.

"Stroke survivors without close family are left isolated, without the long-term support they desperately need.

The report, Current, future and avoidable costs of stroke, Part 2, was based on research at Queen Mary University of London and London School of Economics.

The latest figures mean the costs associated with strokes are roughly the same as the financial burden of dementia.

However, for every stroke sufferer £48 is spent a year on medical research, compared to £118 for each dementia patient, the charity said.

The charity is calling for a Government commitment to replace the current stroke strategy with a new national plan.

They hope this will pave the way for more stroke survivors to return to employment and live independently, while helping ease some of the emotional and financial pressures on family members.

It is also calling for further funding for stroke research, estimating that a £60 million investment now into stroke research could save £10 billion overall by 2035.

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