Westminster Health Forum

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Stroke prevention, care and treatment in England - Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks, training, local delivery, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Morning, Tuesday, 17th November 2020

Online Conference


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the latest developments - and the way forward - for policy and clinical practice relating to stroke.

Areas for discussion include:

  • latest thinking on prevention, care and treatment in England
  • next steps for Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks (ISDNs), training and local delivery
  • new approaches to rehabilitation

Of course, we also expect discussion to focus on the impact of the pandemic on stroke patients, clinical care and rehabilitation - as well as what can learned from the response to the COVID-19 emergency going forward, and actions that need to be taken now and in the future to restore services

It comes with:

  • rising cases of strokes in COVID-19 patients
  • an increased focus on healthy lifestyles as a precaution against contracting more serious symptoms of the virus
  • concern over people with a history of stroke avoiding seeking help due to concerns about infection

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions from: Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive Officer, Stroke Association; Dr Deborah Lowe, National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Dr Kirubananthan Nagaratnam, Consultant Stroke Physician and Geriatrician, Clinical Lead for Stroke Medicine, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The agenda:

  • Priorities for implementing the National Stroke Programme - rehabilitation pilots, local systems and service improvement
  • Stroke prevention during COVID-19 - the impact on current approaches, raising public awareness and providing support
  • Prevention, personalised care, the role of National Stroke Delivery Networks, and the NHS Long Term Plan
  • Training, reducing variation and rolling out mechanical thrombectomy
  • Achieving national targets through local delivery - next steps for improving stroke care in England
  • Applying Artificial Intelligence to stroke treatment - experiences and future use
  • National implementation progress and priorities - urgent treatment, hospital admissions, new approaches to rehabilitation, and dealing with the impact of COVID-19

Why this is relevant now - the context:

The policy background

  • Implementation of the National Stroke Programme, which has been developed by NHS England and the Stroke Association
  • The NHS Long Term Plan identifying stroke as a national clinical priority
  • Prevention reaffirmed as a key priority by the Health Secretary and Advancing Our Health proposals on preventing strokes in England and identifying people who are at risk


  • The recent Office for National Statistics report highlighting a major rise in stroke-related deaths during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Increased government funding support for stroke and other charities, and new guidance for stroke survivors on safety during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Advances in technology being fast-tracked during the pandemic to enable faster decisions and improve stroke patient outcomes, as well as NHS use of AI linked to the FAST stroke campaign
  • BASP guidance on adapting stroke services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including using telemedicine in decision making, delivery of safe care in hospitals and the development of virtual clinics

Clinical developments

The discussion in detail:

Key policy initiatives

  • meeting the National Stroke Programme ambitions around rehabilitation, increasing mechanical thrombectomy, centralised care and local delivery
  • progress in stroke care in England and making stroke a national clinical priority in achieving national targets - including the impact of the NHS Long Term Plan
  • priorities for rolling out mechanical thrombectomy, recruitment of qualified staff and training, reducing variation, and the impact of COVID-19 on delivering treatment
  • delivering integrated stroke care through integrated stroke delivery networks (ISDNs), with discussion expected on:
    • the accountability governance structures that were due to be in place in April this year
    • the development of coordinated stroke care pathways in local areas
    • examples of best practice
    • the role of ISDNs in coordinating local stroke care during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic - its impact on stroke patients, prevention, innovation in care, and the delivery of the National Stroke Programme, including:

  • how innovations implemented in response to the pandemic, for providing safe care during, can be maintained and shared
  • further opportunities to use advances in service delivery implemented during the crisis to improve care post-COVID-19 and meet national stroke ambitions
  • overcoming challenges for restarting services treating stroke patients, following challenges identified by the NHS Confederation, including: funding, capacity, and system working, rehabilitation, regulation and inspections, health inequalities, and managing public expectations
  • achieving stroke prevention - latest approaches and strategies for raising awareness, providing remote support, and learning from the impact of COVID-19
  • the use of advanced technology in enabling faster treatment to stroke patients, including:
    • faster access to mechanical thrombectomy
    • design and implementation of technology for stroke rehabilitation
    • how COVID-19 has enabled these technologies to be adopted
    • opportunities for improving patient outcomes going forward

Organisational collaboration on post-stroke care, including:

  • involvement of the third sector and community care, and
  • the role of pharmacists in delivering stroke care and prevention within the community.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference is no different. Places have been reserved by officials from DHSC; the DWP and HM Revenue & Customs.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Juliet Bouverie

Chief Executive Officer, Stroke Association

Keynote Speakers

Dr Deborah Lowe

National Clinical Director for Stroke, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Dr Kiruba Nagaratnam

Consultant Stroke Physician and Geriatrician, Clinical Lead for Stroke Medicine, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Juliet Bouverie

Chief Executive Officer, Stroke Association


Rt Hon the Lord Lansley

former Secretary of State for Health and Member, House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee

Baroness Wheeler

Opposition Deputy Chief Whip and Member, Shadow Health and Social Care Team


Dr Suzanne Ragab

Consultant Stroke Physician and Clinical Lead for Stroke, Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals

Emma Palmer-Jones

Policy, Advocacy and Government Affairs Manager, Bristol Myers Squibb

Dr Daniel Birchall

Consultant Neuroradiologist, Newcastle Regional Neurosciences Centre, and President Elect, British Society of Neuroradiologists

Dr David Hargroves

National Joint Clinical Lead for Stroke, GIRFT & Urgent and Acute Stroke Care Work Stream Lead, Clinical Policy Unit, both for NHS England and NHS Improvement

Dr Matt Fay

GP Principal, The Willows Medical Practice and Clinical Chief Executive, Affinity Care Primary Care Network

Hassan Argomandkhah

Chair, Pharmacy Local Professional Network, NHS England Northwest

Helen Williams

Clinical Director, Atrial Fibrilation, Health Innovation Network and National Clinical Advisor, Atrial Fibrilation Programme, Academic Health Science Network

Jackie Huddleston

Deputy Director, Clinical Delivery and Networks, NHS England and NHS Improvement South East

Dr Sanjeev Nayak

Consultant, Interventional Neuroradiologist, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust