To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that all people with aphasia receive support from a multi-disciplinary team including a neurologist, psychologist, physician, speech and language therapist, social worker and others.
The majority of people who acquire aphasia have had a stroke. Our major vehicle for improving standards for stroke services is through the older people's national service framework (NSF) which sets specific milestones for improvement by 2004 of stroke services in primary care trusts (PCTs), specialist services and general hospitals that care for people suffering from a stroke. Our document, Improvement, Expansion and Reform, which sets for the national health service a Priorities and Planning Framework for 2003–6, makes clear that implementation of the older people's NSF is a top priority, and that the 2004 milestone around specialist stroke services is a key target.
It is the role of strategic health authorities, in partnership with PCTs, to decide what services to provide for their populations including those with aphasia.. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.