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Deprived patients get inferior care after stroke

POORER people who suffer from strokes are more likely to receive sub-standard care, a new study suggests.

Patients from more deprived areas are less likely to be admitted to hospital, less likely to be given a key test once in hospital and less likely to be given important post-stroke drugs, the research suggests.

Experts from King's College London and Guy's and Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust examined the stroke care and aftercare given to 4200 patients from south London between 1995 and 2010.

They found that patients from poor areas were one-third less likely to be admitted to hospital than their richer neighbours.

The study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, also found that those in hospital were one-third less likely to receive a ­swallow test.

The NHS says these tests are essential for anyone who has suffered a stroke because swallowing problems affect more than one-third of patients.

Researchers also found patients from deprived areas were half as likely to be taking drugs to lower their blood cholesterol three months after their stroke

The authors said that despite improvements to equal access to healthcare since 2001, stroke care remained uneven across Britain.

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