An audit was undertaken of hospital service provision for acute strokes in Scotland, using as a template key recommendations in the four SIGN guidelines on management of stroke. A questionnaire and structured interview was undertaken of key personnel in the 43 Trusts and three directly managed units providing in-patient stroke care in Scotland, and the 15 Health Boards commissioning stroke care. All Trusts and Health Boards participated and a complete set of information for each was recorded on a data-base and analysed. This report gives an overview for 14 key components of an integrated stroke service with results presented in four bands according to Trust type determined by the number of strokes admitted. No Trust provided all key components and for a few components a lack of provision was widespread, e.g. fast-track assessment clinics for TIA and minor stroke, access to CT scanning within 48 hours. Variation occurred between Trusts of similar size, between Trusts of different sizes. Overall the Health Boards were at a preliminary stage in the development of stroke specific service specifications. The results of the audit are a view of stroke services around April 1998, and should enable commissioners and providers to consider how to progress implementation of the clinical guidelines on stroke care.
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