Stroke and the NHS Long Term Plan

A nurse pushes a woman along in a wheelchair

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

Stroke rates have fallen by about 40% and deaths of stroke patients who receive hospital care have halved over the last 20 years. But without further action, due to a growing and ageing population, the number of people having a stroke will increase by almost half, and the number of stroke survivors living with disability will increase by a third by 2035.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out our ambition to prevent more than 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases over the next 10 years, by identifying those at highest risk and helping them to manage their conditions.

And for those who do suffer a stroke, we will also ensure that high quality, specialist care and effective tests and treatments, such as brain scanning, thrombolysis (clot-busting drugs) and mechanical thrombectomy (clot extraction), are increasingly available as part of 24/7 Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks.

To reduce deaths and disability from stroke, the NHS Long Term Plan will:

  • Work to prevent thousands of strokes through a proactive approach to identifying and helping patients manage atrial fibrilation, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Significantly improve access to high quality specialist care and effective tests and treatments for stroke, including CT and MRI scanning, and clot-busting drugs and clot extraction, through 24/7 stroke networks covering the whole country.
  • Pilot and roll out improved rehabilitation services, working with the Stroke Association and other partners, so that more stroke patients can leave hospital earlier and make a stronger recovery at home.
  • Modernise the stroke workforce, working in partnership with Health Education England and Royal Colleges to train a range of hospital consultants to deliver mechanical thrombectomy.

Case study

Angela, 53, was a busy mum of three when she was rushed to hospital having had two strokes, caused by a hole in the heart.

After returning home a month later, she was supported by the Community Stroke Team, receiving physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological support.

Angela was then referred to the Stroke Association’s Reablement Service, which provides high quality information, practical advice and emotional support.

Through this service, Angela was encouraged to join several groups, where she could meet others affected by stroke and take part in workshops to help with her recovery.

Angela went on to develop a beauty workshop to help stroke survivors who have also lost the use of movement in one side.

Find out more about treatment, rehabilitation, and life after stroke through our case studies.

Find out more

See what the NHS Long Term Plan says about stroke.