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.