People who are recovering after having a stroke are missing out on vital therapy to help them with their speech and language, it has been claimed.
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) questioned more than 500 survivors in England, and found that less than 20% received therapy in the first month after their stroke.
The group said that this is despite evidence which indicates that early intervention can cut the amount of time stroke patients spend in hospital and improve their outlook.
Around 50% of respondents said they waited more than two months for their speech and language therapy to begin, while 75% only received treatment for six months or less.
The study also found that more than half felt they had not received enough speech and language therapy, even though the majority of those questioned believed the treatment had huge benefits.
Two-thirds said speech and language therapy enabled them to remain independent, while more than two-thirds thought it helped family and friends understand them.
Joe Korner, director of communications at The Stroke Association, said: "The government's Stroke Strategy calls for every stroke survivor to get all of the rehabilitation they need, for as long as they need it.
"The challenge is for health providers around the country to deliver this promise."