I am aware of the Stroke Association’s survey, which rated hospital care in Scotland as being high. However, the report also recognises the need for further improvements, particularly around emotional and psychological support. Any healthcare condition can, of course, have a wider impact than the physical element, in terms of its impact on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of individuals and their families. That is why we recognise in our new mental health strategy the importance of providing a better response to conditions such as stroke, in order to provide the right type of emotional and psychological support.
A key element of addressing such issues is improvement of access to psychological therapies—or talking therapies, as they are often described. That is why we are committed to delivering faster access to psychological therapies and have underpinned that by a HEAT—health improvement, efficiency and governance, access and treatment—target that will ensure access to such therapies within 18 weeks, by December 2014. That will assist patients who have suffered a stroke to access the type of psychological support from which they may benefit and that may assist in their full recovery.