COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Stroke Association hopes TV soap will improve treatment

The Stroke Association is hoping that the current storyline on ITV1's Emmerdale will boost its latest campaign to get every stroke patient treated in a specialist hospital unit by next April.

Last month, the TV soap opera showed one of its main characters, Terry, collapsing in the local pub. The plot was guided by the charity and will prominently feature his after care and treatment in a specialist stroke ward.

Lisa Knowles, media manager at the charity, said: "Strokes haven't often captured the soap agenda and it's lucky that this story has developed now, just as we are launching our 'Why are we Waiting' campaign."

The campaign promotes a Royal College of Physicians survey, which shows that 64 per cent of stroke victims don't receive treatment in specialist units.

Peter Bainbridge, the charity's parliamentary officer, launched the campaign yesterday when he met the All-Party Parliamentary Group for strokes.

This month, the charity will send a campaign pack to its 400 affiliated clubs and regional volunteers and family support groups, asking recipients to lobby their local MP and strategic health authority.

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