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Strokes: Speech Impaired

Volume 477: debated on Friday 20 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to increase access to communication support services for people who have suffered strokes in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire; and if he will make a statement; (212634)

(2) what NHS funding is available to help people recover from the loss of communication skills following strokes in (a) England and (b) Gloucestershire in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

Information is not collected centrally for national health service funding that is available to help people recover from the loss of communication skills by people who have suffered strokes in England and Gloucestershire in each of the last five years.

The new ‘National Stroke Strategy’, published in December 2007, sets out 20 quality markers for the provision of high quality treatment and care for adult stroke survivors. Of those quality markers, seven link directly to the kind of support and services which those who have had a stroke and their carers need in the community. These include support with communication disabilities and other high quality rehabilitation, information, advice, practical and peer support throughout the care pathway, in line with individual need. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library.

In addition to the funding that has gone to primary care trusts, £105 million of central funding over three years will support implementation. This includes £45 million to local authorities (LAs) to help them develop or accelerate their existing provision of long-term support to those who live with the effects of a stroke. We expect that local authorities will work with their NHS partners in this. The strategy recognises that some people who have had a stroke, including those with aphasia and other communication difficulties, will have specific support needs. We expect that LAs will use some the new funding we have made available to meet these needs in line with local needs and priorities.