Improving stroke care is a national priority for the national health service and is a tier one vital sign in the NHS Operating Framework. Data collected on primary care trusts performance against the vital sign show improvements in the delivery of patient care for stroke patients. Now almost 60 per cent. of people spend 90 per cent. of their time in a stroke unit; a marked improvement since publication of the National Stroke Strategy. The most recent Royal College of Physicians’ “National Sentinel Stroke Audit” conducted in 2008 shows a consistent improvement in performance across nine key indicators; for example there are increasing numbers of hospitals with acute stroke beds with 96 per cent. of hospitals in England now offering specialist acute stroke care.
Since the strategy was published in December 2007, 28 stroke networks have been set up across England to work with commissioners and providers to improve services, and thereby, patient outcomes. Evaluation of the first part of the ACT F.A.S.T campaign has shown this to be one of the most effective public awareness campaigns having reached 82 per cent. of the population. The campaign has led to an increase of 55 per cent. in stroke-related 999 calls.
We intend to commission an independent evaluation of the implementation of the National Stroke Strategy later this year.