Stroke is a very serious medical emergency and expert care needs to be rapidly accessed in order to guarantee the best outcome for the patient. To ensure this, specialist health centres are necessary to manage patient flow 24/7, and research conducted by PenCLAHRC’s Health Services Modelling team has identified the optimal number and locations for stroke services such as thrombolysis and thrombectomy, across England.
As a direct result of operational research carried out by PenCLAHRC's PenCHORD team, the NHS Long Term Plan published in January 2019 has proposed that stroke services may be restructured over the next five years, with sustainability and transformation programmes and integrated care systems reconfiguring stroke services into specialist centres.
NHS England’s long-term plan suggests that “areas that have centralised hyper-acute stroke care into a smaller number of well-equipped and staffed hospitals have seen the greatest improvements [in patient care].” The NHS plan also suggests that reconfiguration will increase the number of people receiving life-changing thrombectomies from one per cent to 10 per cent of stroke patients by 2022.
Under the restructure the current ‘post code lottery’, in terms of access to the best care, will become a thing of the past, creating equal access to the most effective care. The NHS plan suggests these changes will help provide services which would be “amongst the best in Europe for delivering thrombolysis” by 2025.