The number people left with a disability following a stroke is set to rise by a third by 2035, with a shortage of specialist NHS staff partly to blame.
That is one of the conclusions in the latest report from the British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP).
There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year and it is the fourth single leading cause of death and the single largest cause of complex disability.
The BASP report found there was a "significant and growing shortage of stroke consultants" in the UK.
Immediate access to procedures such as intravenous thrombolysis and mechanical thrombectomy, which dissolve clots and restore blood flow to the brain, can significantly decrease the risk of long-term disability and save millions of pounds in long-term health and social care costs.
However the BASP said 20% of UK hospitals have an unfilled stroke consultant post and a lack of such specialist staff "is limiting the ability of the NHS to deliver the latest medical advances and best treatment to stroke patients".
The report said that while deaths from stroke have halved in the past two decades, without further action, survivors living with disability will increase by a third by 2035.
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It puts the cost of stroke to society at around £26bn a year including lost productivity.
Professor Tom Robinson, president of the BASP, said: "Stroke can be devastating for patients and their families, but the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to happen.
"With more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year, we must urgently address the deficit in stroke staff to ensure that everyone has access to specialist care as quickly as possible.
"Great advances have been made in the treatment available to patients, but to offer these treatments to as many patients as possible, we need more doctors to be trained in stroke medicine, and to encourage increased take-up of this vital specialism among medical students.
"Improving stroke care and modernising the stroke workforce is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, and we look forward to working with NHS England and others to help give everyone affected by stroke the best possible care."
Dominic Brand, director of external affairs at the Stroke Association, said: "Stroke is an enormously expensive condition with devastating consequences.
"We need a stroRead More – Source