Latest quarterly Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme results show world-class stroke care is achievable

The tenth report from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) today reveals that 14 stroke services scored an overall ‘A’ grade for the quality of care they provide for patients. This demonstrates that a world-class service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is achievable.

The tenth report from the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) today reveals that 14 stroke services scored an overall ‘A’ grade for the quality of care they provide for patients. This demonstrates that a world-class service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is achievable.

Reaching such levels is a considerable accomplishment and these latest results show that, although the audit sets the bar high to attain a top grade, it is possible. These standards have been set to encourage hospitals to both identify where improvements are needed and drive change.

It is also encouraging to see yet another decrease in the number of services scoring an ‘E’ grade across the quarter, alongside a notable increase in those obtaining the highest two grades on SSNAP. These changes reflect the continued efforts of providers to improve stroke care for patients in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The report published today relates to patients admitted between April and June 2015 and includes named hospital results for the entire inpatient care pathway. The results are available online at the SSNAP Results Portal. 

Pippa Tyrrell, associate director of the RCP Stroke Programme, said:

Measuring the quality of care is an essential component for quality improvement. The SSNAP audit provides very high-quality information that can help professionals, patients and commissioners use and develop their services for the future.

SSNAP is the first national stroke register in the world to collect information across the entire stroke pathway, and it aims to improve stroke care by measuring the quality of services against evidence-based standards and by supporting staff to make improvements. SSNAP results are updated every 3 months, and cover all hospitals treating stroke patients in England and Wales, together with some hospitals in Northern Ireland. It is the most comprehensive and reliable source of information about the performance of stroke services.

Participation in the audit continues to be an exceptional success. In the latest quarter, 20,049 patient records were submitted for analysis – the highest number of records submitted in one quarter to date, and 98% of the expected stroke cases in this period. The vast majority of stroke services continue to achieve the highest case ascertainment grades of ‘A’.

The quality of data submitted to SSNAP has also improved each quarter, which is essential to providing robust and meaningful results. However, there remains unacceptable variation across the country. SSNAP uses an absolute measurement of results, which means that all teams are capable of showing improvement.

SSNAP is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP),* as part of the National Clinical Audit (NCA) Programme. The audit is led by the Royal College of Physicians’ Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit on behalf of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party.

For more information, please contact Morgan Evans, communications and new media advisor on +44 (0)203 075 1468.  

Notes to editors

  • This report contains complete data for stroke patients who are admitted to inpatient care and/or stroke patients who are discharged from inpatient care between 1 April and 31 June 2015. The 14 ‘A’ grades are out of 206 inpatient teams who submitted enough data to receive an overall SSNAP score for the quarter.
  • SSNAP is leading the way in supporting the data transparency agenda and future improvements in stroke care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Transparency and open data is a government initiative that aims to publish information about clinical services and outcomes, and therefore enable patients, staff, academics and others to make informed decisions about healthcare services.
  • The SSNAP audit report is available here: SSNAP Results Portal.
  • There are various data visualisation resources that exhibit SSNAP’s latest results, including: interactive maps, regionalised performance tables, slideshows, and ‘easy-access version’ reports that are designed for, and developed with, patients, families and carers.

*About HQIP, the NCA Programme and how it is funded

HQIP is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices. Its aim is to promote quality improvement and, in particular, to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. HQIP holds the contract to manage and develop the NCA Programme, comprising more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. The programme is funded by NHS England, the Welsh government and, with some individual audits, also funded by the Health Department of the Scottish Government, DHSSPS Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.