Wide variations in stroke aftercare, report finds

STROKE patients face major differences in aftercare depending on where they live.

A Care Quality Commission report finds people in some areas have little or no access to specialist rehabilitation after leaving hospital.

Five primary care trusts in Yorkshire are rated among the top 25 per cent of 150 in England, with Barnsley ranked third and Doncaster fifth, but Calderdale is in the lowest performing quarter.

Commission officials said variations in areas, including physiotherapy and psychological support, was a concern. Strokes leave 30,000 people a year in Yorkshire with long-term health needs but early rehabilitation can reduce them.

NHS bosses in Doncaster said there were 20 per cent fewer strokes in the town in 2009 compared with 2003 but treatment had also significantly improved. For every 100 patients, five go home independent instead of dependent, one extra goes home instead of to a care home, and four fewer die.

The report also showed aftercare was of high quality.

Retired teacher Chris Bowes, 65, of Thorne, has made an almost full recovery after his stroke in December 2009.

He said: "The aftercare I received when I went home was marvellous. But I know that I would not be here now had it not been for the excellent care I received in those vital couple of hours after my stroke."