NHS England is working with partners, including the Stroke Association and other arms-length bodies to improve stroke care along the full pathway from symptom onset to ongoing care. This includes prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in partnership with stroke survivors and their carers.

What is stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fourth largest cause of death in the UK.

A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.  The damage this causes can affect the way your body works, as well as how you think, feel and communicate.

Who does stroke affect

Around 80,000 people a year are admitted to hospital with a stroke, and there are over 1 million stroke survivors in England, more than half of whom have a disability resulting from their stroke.

Some causes of stroke are genetic, however up to 70% of strokes could be prevented by the detection and effective management of hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, cholesterol and lifestyle factors.  Stroke becomes more likely with age but 1 in 4 stroke survivors are working age adults.

NHS England’s work on stroke

The new long term plan for the NHS includes a new national focus on cardiovascular disease (CVD), including stroke.  Both have been recognised as clinical priorities, and distinct themes in the development of the plan.

We are working with partners to improve identification and interventions across the range of conditions associated with CVD and stroke, including prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The long term plan for the NHS gives us the opportunity to look at the difference that can be made in outcomes over the next decade, and what further actions need to be taken locally and nationally to achieve these ambitions.

We are engaging with partners and stakeholders to ensure they have the opportunity to contribute their ideas, experiences and insights.

We are also working with the Stroke Association to pilot a clinical network for stroke. If you’re interested in finding out more please contact

NHS England funds the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP), the national stroke audit which measures the quality and organisation of stroke care in the NHS.  This audit summarises how well each specialist stroke centre is meeting the Royal College of Physicians recommendations for best practice.

In April 2017 NHS England announced that it would commission mechanical thrombectomy  for the treatment of acute stroke in 24 centres nationally. Supporting information is available including an overview of mechanical thrombectomy services and a service specification for Neurointerventional Services for Acute Ischaemic and Haemorrhagic Stroke