Stroke patients face being disabled for life because NHS is providing only a third of the rehab they are entitled to

STROKE patients face being disabled for life because the NHS is providing only a third of the rehab they are entitled to, a damning study reveals.

The intense treatment teaches survivors to walk, talk and eat again so they have every chance of regaining their independence.

Health watchdog Nice says victims should get 45 minutes of each therapy they need, every week day, for as long as necessary.

But a review found patients typically get the equivalent of just 16 minutes a day of physio, 16 minutes a day of occupational therapy, and 12 minutes a day of speech therapy.

The Stroke Association, which analysed the official figures, says some have been forced to pay for private care to ensure they are not crippled.

Charity chief executive Juliet Bouverie said: “The amount of rehabilitation therapy stroke survivors receive once they return home from hospital is woefully inadequate and jeopardises their recoveries.

Stroke patients should get 45 minutes of each therapy they need per day, but currently only one third of this is provided by the NHS

“Almost two thirds of stroke survivors leave hospital with a disability.

“For those who have been robbed of the ability to carry out simple every-day tasks, access to rehabilitation therapy can be truly life-changing, for them and their families.

“We know that some stroke survivors have resorted to paying privately for therapy as they fear for their future.

“But, rehabilitation therapy is an absolute necessity for stroke recovery – it should not be a luxury only available to those who can afford it.”

Nearly two in three stroke survivors leave hospital with disabilities

Stroke is the UK’s fourth biggest killer and a major cause of disability.

There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year, with 1.2million survivors.

Professor Marion Walker, a stroke rehab expert from the University of Nottingham, said: “It’s a commonly held misconception that you can’t recover from stroke.

“However, we have robust evidence that shows stroke rehabilitation therapy can help people to regain the skills of daily life.

“I’ve seen and supported many stroke survivors who had been told they would be left with lifelong disabilities defy expectations after receiving the right level of rehabilitation and support.

“Stroke is a recovering condition and rehabilitation is absolutely worth investing in.

Professor Marion Walker said it is a commonly held misconception that victims cannot recover from a stroke

“In recent years we have seen dramatic improvements in stroke care and more people than ever are surviving a stroke.

“However, the importance of continuing vital rehabilitation therapy once a patient has been discharged from hospital is still not being recognised and as a result many stroke survivors are missing out on their best chance of recovery.”

Philippa Haslehurst, who had a stroke aged 47, received just two NHS sessions of physio and occupational therapy before having to pay for private treatment.

The support worker, from Chingford, North London, now 51, said: “I felt like after a couple of rehabilitation sessions, the NHS had wiped their hands of me.

“I’d made hardly any progress and was still very much dealing with the debilitating after-effects of my stroke.

“If it wasn’t for the private physiotherapy, I wouldn’t be walking now let alone back at work.

“I believe physiotherapy saved me.”

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