- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Assembly Member and stroke campaigner Joyce Watson has called on employers to introduce regular health tests to help combat stroke.
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in Wales and high blood pressure, the single biggest risk factor for stroke, often goes undetected because too few people get regularly tested, the Mid and West Wales AM claims.
Two years ago, with the support of the Stroke Association, Joyce undertook a tour of the region, bringing simple blood pressure tests to public places. They tested the blood pressure of more than 1,000 people and discovered that about 10 per cent of the people who took part had high blood pressure, and a further 20 per cent were border line.
In Assembly Questions on Tuesday (28 June), Mrs Watson asked how the Welsh Government might encourage employers to offer simple blood pressure tests to employees. First Minister Carwyn Jones responded, saying:
“Through our Ask First stroke campaign, we have ensured that 14 large employers in our Healthy Working Wales network hold blood pressure and pulse testing events in their workplaces, in partnership with the Stroke Association.”
The Labour AM welcomed the government initiative but said she wanted to see more employers and small businesses offer the health checks:
“High blood pressure can be easy to overlook because it is often symptomless – until there is a problem.
“Bringing simple tests to the workplace is a very cost effective way of combatting stroke, which devastates thousands of families in Wales every year.”
An estimated 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke each year. Of those, about a third are likely to die within the first 10 days, about a third are likely to make a recovery within one month and about a third are likely to be left disabled and needing rehabilitation.