Part of a £105m investment in services, the plans were unveiled by health secretary Alan Johnson last week as he launched the first national strategy on stroke.
Stroke is the third biggest cause of death in England. The strategy aims to cut the number of strokes by raising awareness, providing extra staff training and accelerating emergency response to stroke.
Roger Boyle, national clinical director for stroke and heart disease, said: ‘We need to pool the talents of nurses, doctors and therapists who are already working tirelessly to improve care of those with stroke. We need to have the right skills in the right place.’
A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Nurses are key to implementing the stroke strategy. We are committing £16m to help develop a world-class workforce which will pay for an additional 30 specialist training posts in 2008–2009, as well as specialist training for nurses and allied health professionals.’
Jane Williams, chairperson of the National Stroke Nursing Forum, said stroke training for nurses was currently ‘patchy’ and a strategic approach to training was needed. ‘We need to start steering education and training in the right direction. Most nurses will come across a patient who has had a stroke at some point in their career and they need to know how to tap into the relevant courses. We need robust training programmes that can reach all nurses,’ she said.
‘Trusts need to set staffing levels so that nurses can actively engage in training opportunities, whether in-house or formal, and we also need a structured education programme for pre-registration nurses,’ she added.
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