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Stroke Care

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the general hospitals caring for people with a stroke which do not have a specialist stroke unit. [130325]

We do not routinely collect the information requested. The most comprehensive source of information is the national sentinel stroke audit, carried out by the Royal College of Physicians. The audit was commissioned by the national health service in 1998 and was last updated in 2002. The results can be found at http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/pubs/strokeaudit01–02.pdf. The 2002 audit shows that 73 per cent. of trusts who participated had a stroke unit compared to 56 per cent. three years earlier. The audit shows that 80 per cent. of trusts that participated have a consultant physician with specialist knowledge of stroke who is formally recognised as having principal responsibility for stroke services. While it is recognised that some services need to increase their capacity, the audit notes that very significant improvements have already been made.Our major vehicle for further improving standards for stroke services is through the older people's national service framework which sets specific milestones for improvement by 2004 of stroke services in primary care trusts, specialist services and general hospitals that care for people suffering from a stroke. Our document, "Improvement, Expansion and Reform", which sets for the national health service a priorities and planning framework for 2003–06, makes clear that implementation of the older people's national service framework is a top priority, and that the 2004 milestone around specialist stroke services is a key target.We monitor progress against the key milestones in the national service framework. From the information gathered so far we know that 83 per cent., of the hospitals who have replied,.now have plans to have a specialist stroke service in place by April 2004.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many stroke patients are treated in specialist stroke units; and how many he estimates will be treated in such units by April 2004. [131045](2) how many of the anticipated specialist stroke units in place by April 2004 he estimates will be

(a) acute, (b) rehabilitation and (c) both acute and rehabilitation; and what percentage each will represent of the total;[131047]

(3) what progress is being made in introducing stroke registers in GP practices; and what percentage of GP practices he estimates will have a fully operational and resourced register by April 2004. [131048]

[holding answer 18 September 2003]: We do not routinely collect information on stroke services at the level of detail requested in these questions. The most comprehensive source of information on stroke is the national sentinel stroke audit, carried out; by the Royal College of Physicians. The audit was commissioned by the National Health Service in 1998 and was last updated in 2002. The results can be found at http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/pubs/ strokeaudit01–02.pdf. There will be a further update of these figures next year.The 2002 audit shows that 73 per cent., of trusts who participated had a stroke unit, compared to 56 per cent. three years earlier. In addition, 83 per cent. of patients receive brain imaging—the highest ever level. The audit shows that 80 per cent. of trusts that participated have a consultant physician with specialist knowledge of stroke who is formally recognised as having principal responsibility for stroke services. While it is recognised that some services need to increase their capacity, the audit notes that very significant improvements have already been made.The quality framework of the new contract for general practitioners includes an indicator on the practice having a register of stroke patients. However, as the quality framework is voluntary, not all practices may choose to work towards this, although we expect many will do so. The first formal measurement of achievement against this indicator will be March 2005, and practices will be working to develop their stroke registers over the next 18 months.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the most recent occupancy levels for each specialist stroke unit; and what age restrictions are placed on admission at each stroke unit. [131033]