Kerry Fianna Fáil TD, John Brassil has confirmed that the much anticipated new Stroke Unit at Kerry University Hospital has opened today and has started to treat patients.

Deputy Brassil added: “This is a fantastic day for the county, and one which will, I believe, be very beneficial to future stroke patients.

“The opening of this Stroke Unit has taken an age. I have raised it numerous times over the past year with the Minister for Health via Parliamentary Question and Topical Debate.

“Over the past number of years, Kerry University Hospital has treated, on average, 200 stroke patients per year. The opening of the new dedicated Stroke Unit will greatly improve the ability of the hospital and its medical staff to treat patients.

“There is a target of treating stroke patients through thrombolysis of 9%. Nationally, it is being exceeded, at 11.6% but in Kerry the figure is just 4%. Clearly the lack of a dedicated Stroke Unit has limited the hospital’s ability to provide this necessary service.

“The Minister said that thrombolysis is available nationally at a rate of 11.6% and exceeds the national target. In Kerry it is at 4%.

“In the past number of years, the recruitment and retention of specialist medical professional to provide stroke services has been a major challenge at the hospital.

“Special mention should go to Dr. Richard Liston, as well as the hospital’s building and maintenance team for their astute use of resources.

“Today’s developments are therefore exceptionally positive, and I want to thank the local HSE management for doing their best to ensure that the unit was opened finally,” concluded Brassil.