Impact and sustainability of centralising acute stroke services in English metropolitan areas

Author Helen Mthiyane
Posted 2019.01.24

Centralising stroke services reduces mortality rates, shortens the length of hospital stays and offers lasting improvements, according to a new research paper by UCL's Department of Applied Health Research (DAHR).

Strokes, which occur when brain function is lost due to impaired blood supply, caused by blood clots or internal bleeding, are a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. In England, people experience over 100,000 strokes a year, leading to 32,000 deaths.

This new study led by UCL DAHR (NIHR-funded) builds on research undertaken in 2014, and analysed data from 500,000 hospital admissions between 2008 and 2016. Researchers compared stroke survival rates and length of hospital stay in London and Greater Manchester compared with other urban areas in the rest of England and found that an extra 69 lives are being saved every year as a result of further centralisation of services in Greater Manchester. In London, where earlier research had shown that centralising acute stroke services saved an extra 96 extra lives per year, these improvements have been sustained over time.

This study provides further robust evidence for centralising acute stroke services in urban areas... We have also shown that it is possible to sustain improvements over time. These findings mean that other urban areas should seriously consider adopting a similar model.

Chief Investigator Professor Naomi Fulop

Learn more about the evaluation of centralised hospital stroke services at the project website with links to papers, accessible summaries, and webinars.

Read the full paper in the BMJ:

Impact and sustainability of centralising acute stroke services in English metropolitan areas: retrospective analysis of hospital episode statistics and stroke national audit data