I was disappointed but not unduly surprised to read today about the lack of rehabilitation and related aftercare that there is in Mid Wales for survivors of strokes. I grew up in Mid Wales, in the county of Ceredigion, and the local people grew accustomed to having to travel long distances for health care. My neighbour had a young daughter with arthritis; they travelled to Oswestry (a journey of several hours) regularly for her treatment. My friend Delyth in High School had to travel to Cardiff when she was younger for treatment of (I think) a heart condition, and when another neighbour was pregnant with some complications, she was transferred to hospital in Cardiff (3 hours away from her home) in order to receive the needed care. These are just a few of the examples – I could go on. However, due to the low population density in the area I think it is probably overlooked for some of the more crucial services as not being ‘cost effective’. Thus people who are already going through a lot in their everyday lives, coping with illnesses and disabilities are forced to travel many many miles to seek the healthcare they need.
My mother and father in law moved to Cardiff from Aberystwyth in May 2002. One month later, my father in law suffered a stroke, which left him without the sight in one eye, very much weaker on one side and greatly affected his voice (he used to have a strong, resonating bass singing voice, but after his stroke he couldn’t sing at all and his speaking voice was much weaker and less defined than it used to be). He was ‘fortunate’ in that he had his stroke after leaving mid-Wales and therefore had access to the facilities in Cardiff. He was admitted to the University Hospital of Wales immediately, and later transferred to the ‘West Wing’ unit for rehabilitative care. Although he never fully regained his previous state, he recovered as much as he was able in a relatively quick time, thanks to the great care he received from the medical teams at these two places. I dread to think how his final few years would have been (he passed away in 2006) had he not received prompt and efficient care directly after that stroke.