Since my stroke, I’ve been determined that I will get better. I just need time and access to the experts who can work with me to make it happen.
Willie, stroke survivor

Why did we make this our goal?

  • Stroke is a leading cause of adult death and disability in the UK. 

  • Stroke needs more public and political attention. 

  • There’s not enough understanding of stroke as a condition. 

  • Stroke research is underfunded. 

  • There are vast inequalities in stroke treatments and services across the UK. 

We want everyone, including national governments, local communities and individuals, to:

  • Understand the scale and impact of stroke. 

  • Take action to prevent strokes, and make sure those whose affected receive the care and support they need. 

Our achievements:

  • We surveyed almost 2,000 stroke survivors and their carers for our Stroke Recoveries at Risk report, which found that the pandemic has affected every aspect of stroke services and research. On World Stroke Day we delivered an open letter signed by over 8,000 people to the Health Secretaries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, urging them to read and act on the report.

  • The report generated over 200 pieces of media coverage and helped persuade Public Health England to run a new Act FAST public awareness campaign. 

  • We used our influence to ensure all stroke survivors were able to receive their Covid-19 vaccine as part of the group 6 priority group.

  • Our Policy and Influencing team helped shape policy and guidelines through consultations including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)’s stroke rehabilitation, atrial fibrillation and hypertension guidelines, the British Association of Stroke Physicians’ future strategy, and NHSE/I’s urgent and emergency care access standards.

  • As the first wave of the pandemic hit and hospital admissions for strokes and heart attacks declined by 50%, we ran a public relations campaign encouraging those who suffered stroke-like symptoms to call 999. Our campaign was name-checked by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHSE/I, in the Prime Minister’s daily briefing on 8 April.

  • Our Priority Setting Partnership collected nearly 4,000 questions for research to improve stroke care from 1,400 people affected by stroke and stroke professionals.

  • Our Stroke Prevention Day encouraged people to pledge to make a change in their diet or lifestyle to reduce their risk of stroke.

  • We reached 9 million people with our radio and social media activities so make sure that stroke survivors were not forgotten during the pandemic.  

  • We funded vital stroke research including three Fellows, two Lecturers and two projects to improve emergency stroke treatments, as well as research investigating the link between Covid-19 and stroke.

  • From October to December 2020, our Hope After Stroke campaign focused on the ways in which, by being there for survivors and their families, we can help people to find hope. The campaign raised over £360,000 which will help us continue to give hope to people affected by stroke.

England

  • We worked closely with NHS England/NHS Improvement on the development of Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks, which bring together the services involved in stroke care, from emergency treatment to community services

  • We supported people with lived experience of stroke to work with the National Stroke Programme, ensuring people affected by stroke have a voice in decision-making.

  • We worked with the British Heart Foundation and NHSE/I to ensure that the 111 First campaign didn’t put people off calling 999 for stroke symptoms and heart attacks.

Scotland

  • We launched our manifesto ‘Make stroke the priority it needs to be in Scotland’ ahead of the Scottish parliamentary election in May 2021.

  • We continued to support the establishment of a thrombectomy service in Scotland.

  • We worked with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to set up and support a National Stroke Voices panel, ensuring that people affected by stroke have a say in decisions about stroke at a national level.

Wales

  • We worked with the Welsh Government and parliament members to highlight the need for a new national plan for stroke as the current Stroke Delivery Plan expires in 2022.

  • Our document ‘The next Welsh Government: A new plan for stroke in Wales’ urged the next administration to save and transform the lives of the 7,400 people who experience a stroke each year in Wales.

  • We launched a new Community of Stroke Best Practice, encouraging people working in stroke to come together to share information and concerns and facilitate best practice.

Northern Ireland

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