Stroke patients 'are happy with GP care'

Patients are generally satisfied with the care they receive from their GP after a stroke, but are less satisfied with other out-of-hospital services, the Healthcare Commission has found.

The Commission surveyed 850 stroke patients during hospitalisation and a year after discharge. Two thirds of patients said their GP was adequately informed about how to treat stroke, and nearly all had their BP checked and medicines reviewed by their GP.

Other services fared less well. Over a quarter of patients with speech problems said they had not received enough speech therapy, and half of patients with emotional problems said they had not received enough help.

Dr Helen Hosker, GP and clinical lead for stroke at Manchester PCT, said that practice-based commissioning would provide a mechanism to allow GPs to improve other services.

'GPs will be able to make sure that rehabilitation therapy in their area is of a good standard,' she said. 'But it won't be easy.'

Dr Tony Rudd, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians stroke working party and a consultant at St Thomas' Hospital, in London, said GPs should focus on mental health support, as most stroke patients did not have access to a psychologist.

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- 65 per cent of patients were satisfied with their GP's knowledge of stroke care.

- 49 per cent of those with emotional problems said they didn't get enough help.

- 28 per cent with mobility problems said they did not receive enough therapy.

- 26 per cent with speech problems did not receive enough speech therapy.

Source: The Healthcare Commission.

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