Health Secretary Alan Johnson has today intiated a new consultation into the future of UK stroke services.
The consultation will examine how the NHS can bring the standard of stroke care into line with that of heart disease and cancer.
It is to shape the final “stroke strategy” to be put into place in the next year.
Among his plans, Mr Johnson is proposing to introduce a “specialist stroke team” to help improve community care and support for stroke patients who are released from hospital.
He will also look at smarter ways to prevent strokes such as providing faster treatment for minor transient ischaemic attacks.
Treating the early signs of stroke is also high on Mr Johnson’s agenda.
“Despite the considerable gains in developing stroke units over the last few years, there remains more to be done to bring stroke services in line with cancer and heart disease services,” says Mr Johnson.
“We have some world class stroke centers already – the challenge is to raise the bar for stroke care across the country based around the needs of individuals and their families.”
Professor Roger Boyle, who will lead the consultation, said: “By redesigning services so that people can be given the newest treatments in specialist centers, 1,000 people who have a stroke a year could regain independence rather than die or be left dependent on others.”