Health Minister Simon Hamilton today announced that a Northern Ireland-led international consortium has been awarded €3.6m (£2.7m) in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme to improve care for patients who have suffered a stroke. The project, entitled Mobile Assistance for Groups and Individuals in the Community – or MAGIC – aims to discover innovative approaches to post-stroke care and will involve a number of industry suppliers competing through several phases of solution development and testing.
Mr Hamilton said: “In Northern Ireland there are 2,700 new stroke cases each year, and we have 35,000 stroke survivors living in the community. The numbers are such that there are inevitably significant challenges associated with consistently providing the high standard of rehabilitative therapy needed to help those who have sustained a stroke achieve the best possible long-term outcomes.
“The MAGIC project will enable us to work with other European regions and with industry to explore and develop innovative ways to empower patients post-stroke. It will allow us to find new approaches which will enable survivors of stroke to have a higher quality of life and reduce the need for long-term care.”
It is estimated that stroke costs Northern Ireland’s health and social care service almost £240m every year. Currently, around a third of stroke patients suffer a decline in health and wellbeing post-stroke and it is recognised that many require additional support to achieve their optimum level of recovery.
The MAGIC project will use pre-commercial procurement to engage industry providers in the development of innovative technologies and services to improve the independence of those who have suffered a stroke. The project, which will run until 2019, is being led by the HSC’s Business Services Organisation. Other Northern Ireland participants are the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency, Invest NI and the University of Ulster. The international partners are drawn from Ireland, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Denmark.
The Minister continued: “This project has the potential to put Northern Ireland at the very forefront of stroke care in Europe. It is also possible that it will involve some Northern Ireland-based companies in product development, thereby providing a boost to our local economy.”