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Stroke Care

Volume 584: debated on Tuesday 15 July 2014

Mortality from stroke has fallen by over 40% in recent years. Awareness of stroke symptoms is being raised through the Act FAST campaign. The strategic clinical networks are sharing best practice in stroke care by, for example, working with commissioners and providers to improve stroke rehabilitation services.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Effective stroke care is extremely difficult to deliver in my county of Herefordshire, because patients are often scattered and inaccessible and the necessary treatment is highly time-critical. What are the Government’s plans to protect and enhance stroke care in rural communities, especially at Hereford hospital?

My hon. Friend raises an incredibly important point. I have the same experience in my county of Norfolk. Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning stroke care. The Herefordshire CCG is working with Wye Valley NHS Trust to improve the quality of stroke services and is seeking to establish a sustainable, hyper-acute service in the county, and it is clearly necessary that that is achieved.

Emotional and psychological support after stroke can be just as important as physical care, yet many patients do not get the care they need even though research shows that investment in this area can not only benefit patients but save the NHS money in the long run. What steps will the Minister take to ensure that all stroke survivors get the right emotional and psychological support after stroke?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right. The cardiovascular disease outcomes strategy, which was published last year, acknowledges the importance of access to psychological therapies. Indeed, there is some really innovative work going on. A psychiatrist called Andre Tylee in London is doing work with heart patients, bringing in psychological therapies and improving their physical as well as their mental health outcomes, and the hon. Lady is absolutely right to make the case for that.