MORE people in Wales are surviving a stroke and stroke services across the country are improving - but more remains to be done, according to the latest progress report from the Welsh Government.

Services run in Gwent by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board are at the forefront of improvements.

The report highlights the achievement and maintaining of a B level by the health board's stroke team at the hyper-acute unit at the Royal Gwent Hospital in the December 2016-march 2017 audit from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP).

This was the highest result in Wales, and the Royal Gwent team maintained that B level in the audit for the April-June period last year, the latest for which results have been published.

But it was also joined at B level that quarter by three other teams across Wales, an indication that performance against key stroke treatments standards continues to improve.

The performance of stoke services in Gwent have been transformed since a new system was introduced two years ago, and results have improved in other parts of Wales too.

This is translating into better outcomes for patients. During the last five years, survival rates following a stroke for people aged 74 and under have improved by 3.5 per cent, from 88.7 per cent in 2011/12 to 92.2 per cent in 2016/17.

For people aged 75 and over, the survival rate improved by 4.7 per cent - 79.8 per cent - in the 10 years to 2016/17.

The number of people dying following a stroke has fallen in Wales too, being almost six per cent less (2,109) in 2016, compared to five years earlier.

There remains room for improvement in services, with direct access to a stroke ward within four hours of arrival in hospital, swallow screening for patients within four hours, and specialist ward rounds among the areas highlighted in an update report by Fiona Jenkins, who chairs Wales' Stroke Implementation Group.

"Stroke care in Wales has made many improvements over the last decade and yet still there are too many strokes that could have been prevented, and too many people die or are left disabled as a result of them," she concludes.