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Charity call over stroke treatment

A charity has called for stroke victims in Northern Ireland to have equal access to treatment wherever they live, and not be subjected to a postcode lottery.

The call comes after representatives of the NI Chest, Heart and Stroke Association from the recently merged charities met with Stormont's health committee at a special meeting in the Lagan Valley hospital in Lisburn to outline their hopes for the future of stroke care north of the border.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey is currently reviewing the services.

Andrew Dougal, chief executive of the charity, raised particular concerns about the situation in hospitals in Coleraine and Downpatrick - the only two areas currently without a dedicated stroke unit.

"Stroke survivors and their families will be watching closely to ensure that their needs will be met," he told the committee.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to pass on their concerns to the Health Committee. For too long, stroke has been treated as a Cinderella illness but finally we have the opportunity, with the help of locally-elected politicians, to put things right."

NI Chest, Heart and Stroke Association

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