§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he is taking to increase the provision of(a) stroke services and (b) doctors specialising in stroke medicine; 151W
(2) what steps are being taken to spread best practice in stroke medicine. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Evidence-based national service frameworks are being developed to ensure consistent access to and quality of care right across the country. In December 1998, we announced that the national service framework for older people would include stroke services.
In addition, we are funding a range of initiatives related to stroke including a sentinel audit of stroke services; reviewing the Effective Health Care Bulletin, produced in 1992 on stroke rehabilitation; funding the Royal College of Physicians to develop guidelines in stroke rehabilitation; and publishing a report later this year by the National Health Service Health Outcomes Indicators Group on health outcomes for stroke.
Stroke medicine is not a recognised hospital specialty. The Specialty Workforce Advisory Group advises Ministers on the numbers needed in higher specialist training in the stroke related specialties, geriatric medicine and neurology, to provide fully trained doctors to fill consultant posts in the future. In estimating likely future requirements for higher specialist trainees, it seeks views from the NHS on local pressures and service developments and consults the medical profession.