Wednesday, April 14, 1999 Published at 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Stroke care in crisis
The survey revealed big regional variations in care
Thousands of stroke victims are dying needlessly because they do not receive proper care, a report claims.
The survey by the Stroke Association found that at least five people die every day, and a further seven or more are disabled because of poorly organised health service stroke care.
The association says most doctors dealing with people who have suffered strokes feel they do not know enough about the condition.
The Association is now calling for the creation of more specialist units to tackle what is the most common cause of death and disability in the UK.
Care differs by area
The study highlights geographical variations in the quality of care that stroke patients receive in the UK.
Treatment in a specialist unit can reduce the chance of dying or being institutionalised by 25%, according to the Stroke Association.
With more than 100,000 new cases of stroke each year, this means that 7,000 people a year die or are institutionalised because of poor care and treatment.
The report, called Stroke Care - A Matter of Chance, was based on questionnaires filled in by more than 2,000 hospital consultants.
The findings include:
Report author Professor Shah Ebrahim, from Bristol University, said: "Around half of stroke patients are not getting the best care available.
"This means, each year, up to 7,000 stroke patients die or suffer disability that might have been avoided."
Professor John Marshall, of The Stroke Association, said: "It is frightening that at least five people a day are dying because they do not have access to co-ordinated stroke care.
"The government has promised equal access to NHS care no matter where an individual lives. It is now becoming urgent that they implement this promise for stroke care."