Location: South Central
Speciality: Paediatric Early Years
Speciality: Adult Acute
Stroke patients in the UK may not necessarily be receiving the best possible standard of care and support in areas such as speech therapy.
This concern follows the publication of a recent audit carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, which revealed that five per cent of hospitals in Britain achieved the lowest possible scores in the fifth annual Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP).
Some 18 per cent of hospitals were awarded the highest rating, while more than one-quarter (26 per cent) achieved a 'B' rating, indicating adequate levels.
Although just 12 hospitals were given the lowest rating as part of the audit, this indicates that diagnosis waiting times, facilities and follow-up care including physiotherapy and speech and language therapy all need to undergo significant improvements at these hospitals.
The college's Professor Pippa Tyrrell commented: "Since we began running the SSNAP audit, we have seen a genuine commitment from stroke services to submit timely, complete data, making the result robust and meaningful.
"The fact that clinical teams are reviewing and acting on the data available to them to improve patient care in addition to their already busy work schedules is hugely encouraging and should be celebrated."
With this in mind, hospitals looking to improve their stroke care services in time for next year's audit may look to recruit more speech and language therapists, creating more opportunities for those specialising in helping people to regain their speech function following a stroke.
Past SSNAP results show that the number of hospitals taking steps to actively improve their stroke services has increased steadily over the years, with just eight per cent awarded an 'A' rating at the end of 2014, rising to 12 per cent the next year.
If this trend is to continue, speech therapists, physiotherapists and other stroke care experts can expect to see an increase in demand for their services over the coming months to help these underperforming hospitals to get back on track.
Written by Martin Lambert
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