NHS England’s work on stroke

The National Stroke Programme has been developed jointly by NHS England and the Stroke Association in consultation with a wide range of clinical experts and people affected by stroke.

The programme will support local organisations to meet the ambitions for stroke set out in the Long Term Plan and deliver better prevention, treatment and care for the 85,000 people who have a stroke in England each year. It will ensure that the groundwork is laid for change in every area of the country. The programme aims to:

  • Improve post-hospital stroke rehabilitation models for stroke survivors
  • Deliver a ten-fold increase in the proportion of patients who receive a clot-removing thrombectomy to end their stroke so that each year 1,600 more people will be independent after their stroke
  • Train more hospital consultants to offer thrombectomy in more sites, providing a national service
  • Deliver clot-busting thrombolysis to twice as many patients, ensuring 20% of stroke patients receive it by 2025 – the best performance in Europe
  • Enhance the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) to identify further need and drive improvements across the stroke pathway, including rehabilitation
  • Ensure three times as many patients receive 6 month reviews of their recovery and needs – from 29% today to 90%

We are working with the Stroke Association, NHS RightCare, Getting it Right First Time (GIRFT) and a range of professional bodies, along with other arm’s length bodies (ALBs) and voluntary sector organisations to deliver this national programme of work.

If you would like any more information on the stroke programme, please email england.clinicalpolicy@nhs.net.

National Stroke Service Model

NHS England and Improvement has now published a National Stroke Service Model, outlining best practice stroke care; from prevention initiatives aimed addressing health inequalities, more efficient diagnosis through improved imaging services, cutting-edge treatments and innovative rehabilitation and life after stroke services. All of which will be delivered by Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks.

A national service model for an integrated community stroke service (ICSS)

The integrated community stroke service (ICSS) is part of the National Stroke Service model, coordinating transfer of care of stroke survivors from hospital, and providing home-based stroke rehabilitation through a specialist multidisciplinary team structure.

The ICSS is an integrated seven days per week service, providing early supported discharge, high-intensive and needs-based community stroke rehabilitation and disability management.  The ICSS works collaboratively with the voluntary sector and social care to ensure tailored patient centred care with provision of 6 months reviews, information, and longer-term support in the community. ICSS services can be accessed both from hospital and the community with pathways dependent on the individual needs of stroke survivors.

Read the full model: National service model for an integrated community stroke service

The RightCare Stroke Toolkit

The national stroke team and Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) has collaborated with NHS RightCare to develop a stroke toolkit and assessment tool to bring to life the National Stroke Service Model (NSSM) and Integrated Community Stroke Service Model. These materials offer practical advice and guidance for ISDNs to support system wide improvement, defining an optimal integrated system for the prevention and management of stroke.

Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks

The NHS Long Term Plan highlights the need for Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks (ISDNs) in all areas of England, bringing people and organisations together to deliver the best possible care for their population.

Led by Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs), ISDNs will include providers and commissioners of services across the whole stroke pathway.  ISDNs will be responsible for designing and delivering optimal stroke pathways, which will ensure that more people who experience a stroke receive high-quality specialist care, from pre-hospital, through to early supported discharge, community specialist stroke-skilled rehabilitation and life after stroke. Their development is key to delivering on the NHS Long Term Plan commitments for stroke.

As highlighted in the National Stroke Service Model, the overarching aim of an ISDN is to enhance the quality of stroke care, by improving clinical outcomes, patient experience and patient safety. The ISDN does this by bringing key stakeholders together, to facilitate a collaborative approach to service improvement of the whole stroke pathway ensuring a patient centred, evidence-based approach to delivering transformational change.

By April 2021, all ISDNs will have an accountable governance structure in place that includes all relevant providers from pre-hospital care through to rehabilitation and end of life care. Having established links to all other relevant networks including regional GIRFT Implementation hubs, Primary Care Networks, Academic Health Science Networks and Strategic Clinical Networks, the ISDNs core focus is to agree priorities for delivery of the stroke components of the LTP and develop operational plans for clear patient pathways.

There are 20 ISDNs that have been developed and approaching the operational stage across England, covering the 7 regions;

  • North East and North Cumbria
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate
  • Humber Coast and Vale
  • South Yorkshire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Cheshire and Mersey
  • North Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands
  • East of England (North)
  • East of England (South)
  • London
  • Thames Valley
  • Kent and Medway
  • Frimley and Surrey Heartlands
  • Sussex
  • Wessex
  • Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon & Wiltshire (BSW), Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) and Somerset
  • Devon & Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (Peninsula)

If you would like more information on the ISDNs and if local areas have examples of best practice they believe could be replicated elsewhere, please get in touch with the National Stroke Programme Team at england.clinicalpolicy@nhs.net.