Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland fears that mounting pressures on the NHS could result in a health care crisis.
For Public Health Scotland’s Annual Reports on heart disease and stroke showed that, even before the pandemic hit, the number of people experiencing a stroke or heart failure was at a ten year high.
The annual reports revealed there were 9229 stroke cases in 2019/20 compared to 8609 in 2010/11 and a ten year high in heart failure with 5401 cases compared to 4712 in 2010/11.
Deaths from cerebrovascular disease – which includes stroke – fell by 35 per cent, with heart disease fatalities down by 32 per cent.
However, the figures also show that more people are being treated for stroke and heart problems and discharged back into the community.
Without proper access to joined-up care, CHSS fears people could end up back in hospital – adding to existing pressures on the NHS.
The charity is now calling for a more joined-up approach between NHS, social care services and charities to avoid “a permanent state of crisis”.
And it is calling on all political parties to pledge their support for expanding its Hospital to Home services.
CHSS provides direct support to people at home, meaning they are less likely to need repeat visits to hospital.
Lawrence Cowan, CHSS campaigns director, said: “This reports shows that we’re making progress in helping people survive. But it’s also a big warning sign of the major challenges facing our health services for years to come.
“Even before the pandemic, the number of people whose lives were changed by stroke and heart failure was the highest in a decade.
"If we don’t give people the right support in the community they are more likely to end up back in hospital.
“Urgent action is therefore needed to avoid plunging our health services into a permanent state of crisis. We need to better join up the work of the NHS, social care and charities. This approach keeps people well at home, saves lives and protects the NHS.”