HC Deb 17 February 1997 vol 290 c381W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the recent publication "Stoke: National Tragedy, National Priority", published by the Stroke Association; and if he will make a statement; [15640]

(2) what measures he proposes to assist district stroke services. [15642]

(3) if he will make it his policy to ensure that all people who have had strokes are (a) treated as emergency cases by A and E units and (b) assessed and diagnosed at hospital shortly after admission. [15641]

Mr. Burns

We are sure that local health authorities will find the Stroke Association's publication "Stroke: National Tragedy, National Priority" a useful aid to commissioning services for its areas for people who have had a stroke.

The Department of Health has awarded the Stroke Association a number of grants, under the section 64 general scheme, for projects to enhance the provision of stroke services in primary care. Reducing the death rate from stroke is a target of "The Health of the Nation". This is supported by a number of high-profile campaigns such as promoting physical activity and sensible drinking and encouraging people to stop smoking. The national health service executive has produced recommendations on the provision of rehabilitation services for stroke patients which have been distributed to the NHS to assist local health authorities in making decisions about how to organise their services. Copies of this document-an effective health care bulletin entitled "Stroke Rehabilitation"-are available in the Library.

Decisions on when and where to refer for treatment are a clinical matter for the patient's doctor. Under the patients charter, patients in an accident and emergency department can expect to be seen immediately and have their need for treatment assessed. In addition, health authorities should set local standards on times patients can expect to wait to receive treatment in accident and emergency departments after their need for treatment has been assessed.