A new campaign aims to cut deaths and disability from strokes in Bradford.

The Stroke Association has called on Bradford's hospital bosses to treat strokes as a medical emergency and improve the care they provide to stroke patients. It claimed if urgent action is taken 20 per cent of all stroke deaths could be prevented.

Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: "Stroke clinicians talk about a 'rule of thirds' with stroke, that a third are likely to die, a third become permanently disabled and a third recover.

"We believe that 'rule of thirds' can and should, urgently, be broken.

"If the time between the onset of a stroke and diagnosis was no more than three hours, people could have a much better chance of avoiding death or becoming disabled."

The society's call for action followed the publication of its report which revealed that delays in diagnosis and treatment of strokes are causing unnecessary deaths and disabilities each year.

"All too often, there are severe delays. We need to see dramatic improvements in emergency brain scanning," said Mr Barrick.

The society also wants all stroke patients to have access to an acute

stroke unit and all stroke units to have

the full range of specialist facilities required.

A Bradford Teaching Hospitals spokesman said: "We recently opened a new acute stroke unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which is in addition to our stroke rehabilitation unit at St Luke's Hospital."

The acute stroke unit at the BRI offers seven beds and the rehabilitation unit at St Luke's provides 11.

"We want to increase the provision at the BRI to 14," said the hospital spokesman. "We are totally committed to providing the best stroke care possible and our services score very highly in national audits."

The charity claims urgent change is needed in two areas. First the general public needs to be able to recognise the symptoms of stroke and to dial 999 if they suspect a stroke and second the health service needs to be organised so that someone with a suspected stroke gets a brain scan and diagnosis within three hours.