A national postal survey of hospital based consultants with responsibility for acute care of stroke admissions was performed in November, December 1998. Of 162 survey forms, 140 (86.4%) were returned representing consultants working in all 38 acute general hospitals (total 10,067 hospital beds) of whom 135 indicated that stroke patients were admitted under their care. Patients were admitted under 11 different subspeciality groups to various medical and surgical wards. Only 18.5% of consultants worked in hospitals where there was a physician/neurologist with specific responsibility for stroke, whilst only 19.5% were aware of a policy in their hospital for implementation of minimum standards of care for stroke patients or a recent audit of stroke care (9%). A substantial number of hospitals in certain health board areas have no access to a consultant led rehabilitation unit within their own health board area whilst 18/38 hospitals have no on-site CT brain scanning. Despite the proven value of organised hospital stroke care, this survey documents major deficiencies in this country. We suggest that each health board would review its services to include in each hospital a consultant physician with special responsibility for co-ordination and development of appropriately staffed and funded stroke services.