NHS 'fails to treat strokes properly'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Five hundred people die unnecessarily each year because of the failure of the National Health Service to give sufficient priority to stroke victims and ensure patients are treated in specialist hospital stroke units.

Despite being Britain's third biggest killer after cancer and heart disease, strokes are not given the same priority as these other conditions, a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee found.

A quarter of stroke victims - more than 26,000 people - die each year in the UK from strokes.

But unlike heart attacks, which have seen a 1.5 per cent annual decline in mortality rates, the chances of a stroke victim dying remained constant between 1992 and 2002.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh said: "Each year hundreds of stroke patients needlessly die or suffer more serious disablement than they should because the Department and the NHS have failed to give stroke services the priority they warrant."

The report called for an overhaul of the procedures surrounding stroke victims.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health spokesperson said that a team of specialists is already developing a new national stroke strategy to improve treatment of the condition.