Stroke is a condition that involves health and care workers from across all aspects of the UK’s health service, from the acute hospital setting to the social care system.

It is therefore vital that there are clear and evidenced national plans that lay out exactly how these elements of the treatment and care pathway fit together and are integrated.

The key stroke policies outlined below provide a benchmark for the level of care that people affected by stroke should expect from their local services.

See stroke guidelines for:
Northern Ireland

UK stroke policy

National Clinical Guideline for Stroke - 2023 edition

The National Clinical Guideline for Stroke is a detailed document that defines the recommended best practice within stroke care.

The guideline provides guidance to stroke professionals in order to improve their clinical practice to enable better outcomes for stroke survivors. The 2023 edition is a partial update of the 2016 guidance and was developed in a collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and the National Clinical Programme for Stroke, Ireland.

The Stroke Association partly funded the guideline update, and has been intimately involved in the refresh, ensuring that the patient perspective is represented.

England stroke policy

The National Stroke Service Model (NSSM) - May 2021

This document outlines best practice stroke care: from prevention initiatives aimed at addressing health inequalities to innovative rehabilitation and life after stroke services, as well as underlining the importance of accessible thrombectomy services.

It emphasises the importance of the Integrated Stroke Delivery Units (ISDNs) as vehicles for delivering these ambitions.

Integrated Community Stroke Service (ICSS) Model - February 2022

This model lays out exactly what service a stroke survivor should expect after leaving hospital. It outlines the need for community rehabilitation to be ‘needs-based’, integrated into one seamless service, and available 7 days a week.

Integrated Life After Stroke Service (ILASS) Model - May 2023

The ILASS model provides details about the types of life after stroke (LAS) support that should be provided to stroke survivors across the stroke pathway.

The support it describes includes:

  • Personalised treatment and care.
  • 6-month reviews.
  • Emotional support.
  • Secondary prevention.
  • Communication support.
  • Vocational rehabilitation.

Northern Ireland stroke policy

The Stroke Action Plan - June 2022

This key document makes clear the Northern Ireland government’s priorities for improving stroke services. It emphasises the need for better thrombectomy access, prevention policy, and a sustainable stroke workforce.

Key commitments include an action to move towards ‘a 24/7 thrombectomy service by the end of 2024’ and to begin reconfiguration towards a hyperacute model of acute stroke care.

Read our policy position on reorganising acute stroke services.

Scotland stroke policy

Stroke Improvement Plan - June 2023

This document sets out the priorities and actions to deliver improved prevention, treatment and care for all people in Scotland affected by stroke.

Wales stroke policy

Quality Statement for Stroke

This document lays out a vision for what the Welsh stroke service should look like: safe, timely, effective, person-centred, efficient, and equitable. This statement emphasises the need for cross-working with other groups to address areas such as public health, prevention, and rehabilitation.

Resources for professionals

As a frontline healthcare professional, we want to support you as much as we can in helping patients rebuild their lives after stroke. 

Resources for professionals