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Strokes: Health Services

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure the NHS provides effective care to people in the first hours following a stroke. (204025)

The National Stroke Strategy published in December 2007 sets a clear standard to ensure that effective urgent care is in place, including transfer to an acute stroke centre that provides access to scans, thrombolysis where appropriate, and prompt admission to a specialist stroke unit. In addition to the funding that has gone to primary care trusts, £105 million of central funding over three years will support implementation, including to support change in acute and community services, and to raise public awareness. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library.

In the “NHS Operating Framework 2008-09”, and accompanying “vital signs”, stroke is one of the national requirements; all hospitals are expected to improve their performance in treating people with stroke. Copies of these publications are available in the Library.

We have also set up, as part of the Stroke Improvement Programme, a central team to support the development of local stroke care networks. We are asking all local stroke networks to work together to ensure that these services are provided.