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Strokes: Mental Health Services

Question for Department of Health

UIN 55134, tabled on 28 November 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to encourage clinical commissioning groups to commission psychological support for stroke survivors.

Answered on

6 December 2016

NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Stroke is working with the strategic clinical networks, urgent and emergency care networks, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Sustainability and Transformation Plan areas on how stroke care, including post-acute care, is best delivered to their local communities.

The Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy and the National Stroke Strategy both recognise that stroke services which incorporate psychological care deliver the best outcomes for stroke survivors. The National Stroke Strategy recommends that stroke survivors should be routinely screened for mood and cognition after their stroke. In addition, the latest national clinical guideline for stroke, published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in October 2016, sets out that that psychological therapy is an important component of stroke care. The guideline can be found at:

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/stroke-guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s quality standard on stroke also reflects the importance of psychological care for stroke survivors.

However, NHS England recognises that access to psychological support is still not consistently available for all stroke survivors who need it. It is exploring how to improve the use of existing resources to ensure that stroke survivors receive the psychological and emotional support they need. One of these resources is the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme, which is rolling out services across England offering interventions for people with depression and anxiety disorders. Many areas now have these programmes.

There has been a significant growth in the availability of early supported discharge (ESD) teams over recent years. Over 80% of CCGs now commission ESD and 74% of hospitals have access to these services.

Although this is encouraging progress, NHS England recognises there is more to do. In collaboration with the RCP stroke programme and the strategic clinic networks, it is working with CCGs to support areas where improvement is needed.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care