Stroke is the fourth largest single cause of death in England. One in four stroke patients die.

A stroke could happen to anyone at any time and is caused by either a block in a blood vessel that leads to the brain or by bleeding in or around the brain. Following a stroke some people recover completely, others need rehabilitation and further support, but others do not survive.

A review of the end to end stroke pathway in early 2014 highlighted unacceptable variation in access to services and outcomes for patients. An end to end stroke pathway service specification for Lancashire and South Cumbria was developed by clinically led workstreams and agreed by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in 2015. This has led to the creation of a Stroke programme across the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System.


Our Stroke programme aims

  • To work with the population of Lancashire and South Cumbria on improving awareness of stroke and the lifestyle choices that can reduce the risks of experiencing stroke.
  • To deliver high quality, safe, evidence-based treatment and care to those who have experienced stroke, or are at increased risk of experiencing stroke in the future.

Our Stroke programme objectives

  • Improve public awareness and understanding of the signs and symptoms of stroke and opportunities for managing the risk of experiencing a stroke
  • Improve the identification and treatment of people who are at increased risk of stroke in our population
  • Continuously improve the treatment and care provided in all of the acute hospital stroke units across Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Establish access to Hyper Acute (Specialist) Stroke Care for patients across Lancashire and South Cumbria (see the tab above on the public engagement around enhancing our acute stroke centres, which contains information about how we will enhance access to Hyper Acute and acute stroke care)
  • Implement effective integrated stroke rehabilitation and long term support in the most appropriate settings throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Stroke key messages

The key message briefings aim to keep stakeholders informed and up to date about the work of the Stroke Programme by regularly providing key messages and inviting your comments and views. These key message documents were published prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. 


To support the engagement activities, we have produced a Stroke Information Guide as well as an easy read publication which has been tested with a group of service users working with the Stroke Association.

It describes the progress to date and the next steps in the work taking place to improve patient experience across the whole stroke pathway.

Video - what will the Stroke programme mean for local people

Elaine Day, Stroke Programme Lead for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria on what the Stroke Programme will mean for local people and what she is looking forward to as it continues to roll out.

Video - hear from our Patient Representative

Jean Sherrington gives her thoughts on the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria stroke programme, her role as Patient Representative and what she wants to see in the future. Jean also shares a message for all staff working in stroke services.

When Stroke Strikes Act F.A.S.T. Call 999

A stroke can strike anyone of any age, with little or no warning. It is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability, costing the NHS £3.2 billion (and the wider economy over £4 billion) each year.

Half of all stroke survivors are disabled for life, and if you are of Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian descent you are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than your white counterpart.

Strokes impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year, affecting both the person who has a stroke and their loved ones, families and carers. It is estimated that in the UK someone has a stroke every five minutes.

Treating a stroke early can reduce the number of deaths and the level of disability caused by a stroke. This is why acting F.A.S.T. is so important when you or a loved ones shows signs of having a stroke. The quicker you are diagnosed and treated the better your chances of a good recovery. For someone having a stroke, F.A.S.T. means fast.

It is vital that you call 999 when you notice any single one of the signs of stroke. Do not wait. You must Think and Act F.A.S.T.

•         Face - has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

•         Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?

•         Speech – is their speech slurred? 

•         Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke

It is important to remember that when stroke strikes Act F.A.S.T. Call 999

There are some other signs that may be due to a stroke or mini stroke include:

•         Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes

•         Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body (including in your leg)

•         Sudden memory loss or confusion

•         Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other signs 

•         Call 999 immediately if you notice any single one of the signs of stroke.

A stroke is a medical emergency, and the NHS is still here to see you and treat you safely. Safe systems of working, including infection prevention and control, and administrative and environmental controls, are in place across the NHS but we need you to help us help you. We need you to Act F.A.S.T.

The Stroke Association provides support and advice to stroke survivors and carers and is a valuable partner in the care and information provided. The Stroke Association also has information around the need to act F.A.S.T.

Stroke Association – Stroke Symptoms and acting F.A.S.T.

Symptoms of stroke and acting F.A.S.T. - the Stroke Association

Stroke Association Twitter video on acting F.A.S.T.

The Stroke Association provides vital support in the recovery and rehabilitation of stroke survivors. They have support groups in each area of Lancashire and South Cumbria and these can be found below:

Central Lancashire Stroke Recovery Service

Cumbria Stroke Recovery Service

Fylde Coast Stroke Recovery Service

Morecambe Bay Stroke Recovery Service

Pennine Lancs Stroke Recovery Service

West Lancashire Stroke Recovery Service

Stroke Association Helpline open:0303 3033 100

Supporter care:0300 3300 740

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