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CQC finds stroke care lottery


Stroke patients face a postcode lottery in care, a study by the Care Quality Commission has found.

The Supporting Life After Stroke report, published last week, said there were “wide levels of variation” between stroke services offered across England, and even within primary care trust areas. The North East and South West regions were among the best performers, according to the report, while the East of England fared worst.

The healthcare inspectorate said that rehabilitation services after patients had been transferred home from hospital were patchy, with some people having no access to stroke specialist rehabilitation in the community.

The report also found that only around one third of stroke patients had access to dedicated teams to support them in their first days after being discharged from hospital and half have to wait two weeks or more for community speech and language therapy.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said the level of variation was a “concern”. She added: “Stroke is the single largest cause of disability in adults and ourevidence shows that early access to intense rehabilitation is beneficial to people’s recovery.” However, barriers to effective care “can be overcome”, she said.

An NHS East of England spokesperson said there had been “good progress” in the region and it expected “substantial improvements” over the next six months.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Just stroke care? The entire bloody system is pot luck!

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  • its appallling and beyond further words

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  • sorry I was so shocked I was unable to find any more words to add to my comment above. however, it is totally beyond my comprehension in one of the wealthist lands on the globe that appropriate care isn't available for the prevention of strokes and to all stroke victims especially in the light of new hope given for this group of patients from recent findings in neuroscientific research and advances in clinical treatments

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  • Anonymous | 18-Jan-2011 11:49 am I a in complete agreement, and this extends to ALL conditions. This is what happens when money comes before care.

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  • It took 30 years (at least) to realise cardiac units worked and have dedicated staff and beds. Research shows, without doubt, that stroke units work, but need to be adequately staffed and the capacity to deal with direct admissions. The Stroke Strategy supports direct admissions, shorter lengths of stay and providing community rehabilitation. The former and latter are still in earlier days, in most areas in the UK sadly, and all services need to co-exist or else it won't work. The NHS is still so fragmented and unable to provide joined up services. I worked in a brilliant stroke unit whin a dynamic MDT in 1990-1995, only to be abandoned by the same trust in 1995, re-invented in 2003 and still hasn't caught up with what we had in 1990 (taking thombolysis out of the equation, as it didn't exist then, and still doesn't out of 9-5 hours, Mon-Fri). Mike, it does extend to all conditions, I couldn't agree more, but Stroke has been so neglected for so long. Most professionals think they know how to look after stroke patients, but until you care for this group, you don't. I am working with staff that confirm this notion unequivatably, and are shocked by their lack of knowledge despite their long experience in nursing. I continue to despair, lets hope it isn't for 30 years!!

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