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GPs' NSF stroke targets under pressure

GPs' chances of meeting national service framework targets for stroke patients are being hampered by the failure of primary care organisations and specialists to develop services, a survey has revealed.

More than half of the stroke specialists surveyed said they had yet to agree a protocol with local GPs to identify and treat at-risk patients.

Only two-thirds said they had agreed procedures with PCOs and GPs for the rapid referral and management of patients with TIA.

GPs can earn 31 quality and outcome points for the monitoring and treatment of stroke patients but many specialists said PCOs and practices were giving the issue low priority.

More than three-quarters expressed doubts over local GPs' prospects of hitting quality targets for the condition.

The survey was conducted by the British Association of Stroke Specialists.

Dr Damien Jenkinson, Secretary of the association and consultant stroke physician at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, said: 'The biggest complaint was to do with communication between secondary and primary care.'

He added: 'Substantial improvement has been made over the past year. There is now a perception that primary care are coming on board – but some areas are lagging behind.'

Professor David Colin Thome, the Government's primary care tsar, said he expected most practices to meet most of their targets for stroke, although some GPs would struggle.

Dr David Jenner, NHS Alliance lead for PEC chairs and a GP in Devon, said stroke services were 'hugely variable' but that GPs' ability to earn quality points would not be

affected.

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