Stroke Pathway

The Stroke Pathway defines the core components of an optimal service for people who have had a stroke or are at risk of a stroke.

The Stroke Pathway has been developed in collaboration with the National Clinical Director for Stroke Services, Tony Rudd, Public members of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party (ICSWP), the Stroke Association and a range of other stakeholders from across the health and care system. The pathway defines the key interlocking components for an optimal system for prevention and management and the priority higher value interventions that systems should focus on to address variation, improve outcomes, reduce cost and contribute toward a sustainable NHS.

The resources in the Pathway also draw on a range of other national guidance and contain examples of best practice from across England to help make change on the ground.

The Pathway contains a number of key messages for commissioners and to emphasise their importance when using this product they are included here:

Commissioners responsible for Stroke for their population should:

  • focus on the key components for stroke care across a system:
    • Ensuring rapid diagnosis and treatment
    • Prompt and ongoing rehabilitation and secondary prevention
  • work across their system to ensure that schemes to deliver the priorities for optimisation are in place:
    • a pathway from 999 call to optimal treatment
    • admission to a hyperacute stroke unit and a swallow screening within four hours
    • stroke unit and early supported discharge delivered as seven day specialist stroke rehabilitation
    • individualised assessment for all patients and carers and delivery of a treatment plan
    • six month review and annual follow-up with access to appropriate interventions
  • implement the RightCare CVD prevention pathway to help prevent strokes

Relevant links to support implementation are included throughout this resource.

Local health economies can use this resource as a framework for their local improvement discussions, particularly during the ‘What to Change’ phase of their RightCare work.

NHS RightCare Pathways form part of the NHS RightCare Intelligence Programme