Computed tomography (CT) scanning is important prior to acute stroke treatment. We wished to identify factors associated with being able to obtain a CT scan quickly, from a recent large stroke treatment trial. A questionnaire survey on the organisation of CT scanning services for stroke was sent to 179 UK and Italian hospitals who had randomised patients into the International Stroke Trial and performed at least one pre-randomisation CT scan. Data from the questionnaire were analysed in conjunction with other patient data. Italian doctors expected the CT scans to be done more quickly than UK doctors, their hospitals were more likely to have a CT scanner operating all the time, and a porter was used less frequently to take the patient to the CT scanner. A few simple changes in the way CT scanning is organised for stroke patients in the UK could speed access to CT considerably.