'Advances in treatments developed in clinical trials of stroke will reduce the current unacceptably high death rate from stroke and long term disability with its heavy burden on stroke patients and their families', he added.
Dr Helen Rodgers, a specialist in stroke medicine at Newcastle University, who is Director of Patient Care within the UK Stroke Research Network, said: 'Stroke is devastating to patients and their families and carers, and expensive for society. The majority of people survive their first stroke, but they are often left with considerable physical and psychological impairments.
'We aim to work with the local research networks to help them provide opportunities for more people to become involved in stroke research, in order to improve stroke prevention, the quality of treatment and care, rehabilitation and long-term support for stroke patients'.
Newcastle University was chosen to co-ordinate the UK Stroke Research Network because of its already strong programme of stroke research, coupled with extensive expertise in managing clinical research. Professor Ford is also Director of the University's recently-opened 4.5 million Clinical Research Facility.
Professor Sally Davies, Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health said: 'The UK Stroke Research Network will provide a world-class health service infrastructure to support clinical research and speed up patients' access to the best treatment and care in all parts of the country.'