A STROKE can be a pretty devastating experience not only for that person but also for their family and friends.

Many people manage to regain all their faculties and functions while for others it can be permanently life-changing or fatal.

All the evidence supports the need to get people into hospital quickly so that treatment can begin within the so-called golden hour

This week’s news about the performance of specialist stroke units within the Welsh NHS is worrying. They are continuing to underperform compared to their English counterparts – and that’s according to an official report from the Welsh Labour Government.

The report says that while more people are now surviving a stroke in Wales, improvements are needed in the performance of Welsh hospitals when it comes to treating stroke patients.

A special audit has found that while most hospitals in Wales are achieving a C or D grade for performance, the majority of hospitals in England achieve a higher score.

Thankfully, there have been improvements. Just over half of patients in 2016/17 got a CT scan within one hour and more than 50 per cent were admitted to specialist stroke units within the four hour target set by the Royal College of Physicians.

However, that also means that almost half were not scanned and were not admitted to stroke units within those time limits when we all know that with strokes, time is of the essence.

It is crucial that the treatment of strokes remains a major priority for the Welsh Government and that resources are made available to ensure that the service in Wales is at least equal to that provided under the UK Government-run English NHS.

And as a stroke can often occur after a traumatic injury or event, this is a consideration for the consultation on whether the new trauma centres comes to Morriston Hospital rather than Cardiff.

The consultation closes on February 5 so there’s still time to help make it Morriston.

Details are available on www.publichealthwales.org/majortrauma consultation