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Stiffer stroke target introduced – despite failure to meet old standard

The failure of trusts to offer stroke patients the level of rehab required by standards introduced 10 years ago has not prevented the publication of new guidance which demands even higher performance.

New guidance has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which says recovering stroke patients should receive therapy for at least three hours a day, five days each week.

Performance against this standard is not yet measured, but figures analysed by HSJ show nearly all units treating stroke patients are falling well short of the previous NICE standard issued in 2013. This required a much less ambitious 45 minutes per day.

The figures suggest it is inconceivable the NHS will meet the new NICE rehab requirements in the near future. When they were launched, NICE said: “It shouldn’t be underestimated how important it is for people who have been left with disabilities following a stroke to be given the opportunity to benefit from the intensity and duration of rehabilitation therapies outlined in this updated guideline.”

But Chartered Society of Physiotherapy chief executive Karen Middleton said there was no funding for physios to work on rehab, despite increases in staff supply. “Funding that we know is already limited is being prioritised to other things rather than into rehab,” she said.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 29 November 2023


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