Some people living in England are receiving better care than others after having a stroke, a report has revealed.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) study found that, despite having been shown to reduce disability following a stroke, specialist rehabilitation services are not available to all.
Survivors had to wait a fortnight, on average, in 48% of the country, to receive community based speech and language therapy. Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) did not offer stroke physiotherapy in 32% of cases, while occupational health was not always given by staff trained in treating strokes in 44% of areas.
More than 80,000 people in England are admitted to hospital following a stroke every year.
CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said: "Stroke is the single largest cause of disability in adults and our evidence shows that early access to intense rehabilitation is beneficial to people's recovery.
"Services have made improvements over recent years in the care provided in the hours and days that follow their stroke.
"It is vital that this momentum is maintained and that improvements are made in the care and support provided in the longer term."