What we do

BASP exists to promote the advancement of stroke medicine in the UK. The BASP Executive, Committees and our members work to achieve our 5 key objectives.

These are:

Why is this important?

Much progress has been made over the last two decades in stroke care across the UK. The development of stroke services accelerated with the publication of the National Stroke Strategy in England in 2007 and equivalent plans in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Stroke mortality has almost halved over 20 years, with 30-day mortality now below 13%, and a third more people now return to their usual place of residency after stroke. This national priority on stroke has lost political momentum. With the cutting of the NHS Stroke Improvement Programme in 2012, and the transformation of the 29 stroke clinical networks into 10 networks with a much wider remit, many of the critical day to day supportive activities for improvement in England were lost. There remains much outstanding work to complete in the stroke pathway in the UK. The Stroke Sentinel National Audit Programme (SSNAP) confirms that stroke care continues to show ‘unacceptable variation’. People can struggle to access support they need in the community after stroke and the post-hospital pathway is very variable. For instance, fewer than 16% of people receive a 6-month review and up to 30% of eligible people fail to access Early Supported Discharge services.

Why should BASP take action?

Whilst the major national UK stroke charities have been at the forefront of the voluntary scene as advocates for people and families after stroke, there is a particular requirement for a prominent national professional voice in stroke – particularly since the stroke clinical networks and their central team were disbanded. BASPs function therefore requires a step change to become the go-to professional organisation in stroke.

Our priorities will be:

  • To be pro-active and prominent in creation of policy and influencing in stroke
  • To become the first port of call for expert advice
  • To provide clear guidance to commissioners
  • To provide guidance on translation of policy into service quality and development

Why is this important?

Discussions regarding the provision and development of stroke services should be informed by high quality evidence, and articulated by clinicians with a specific knowledge and experience of managing patients across the whole of the stroke pathway. Navigating the complex and constantly changing infrastructure through which clinicians and researchers interact with patients, policy makers, those commissioning health-care and the mass media is challenging. Organisations that provide expert guidance comprise an array of nongovernmental and professional groupings, often with competing interests, potentially resulting in mixed or confusing messages. As and when new developments emerge in the management of stroke patients or the organisation of stroke care, it is important these are brought to the attention of the public and the wider healthcare system. Physicians, familiar with the whole pathway of stroke care, provide balance and perspective, taking account of the needs of all patients, from thrombectomy for hyperacute stroke to early supported discharge and long-term management for stroke survivors. In collaboration with partner organisations, such as the Stroke Association, BASP will provide timely and professional expert advice on all aspects of stroke care.

Why should BASP take action?

BASP is in a unique position to represent medical opinion in all stroke related matters, with a membership working throughout the four home nations in both clinical and academic roles. As part of the BASP strategy development, we have identified support both within the BASP membership and from our partner organisations for a more proactive approach, in delivering timely and professional expert advice in stroke. By developing our links to media organisations, BASP can improve public awareness of stroke developments and provide balanced and authoritative responses to breaking news stories.

Our priorities will be:

  • To systematically engage with external agencies on stroke related issues
  • To immediately react with expert opinion to react to new developments in stroke care
  • To seek and maintain representation from BASP within all key organisations relevant to stroke
  • To expand the content within the BASP website so that it contains more easily accessible stroke resources for non-BASP members, including lay public, general physicians, general practitioners and media organisations.

Why is this important?

As stroke management is a rapidly evolving arena, and it is vital that all clinicians involved in delivering stroke care are expert and are up to date in their specific field of practice. Having a framework of robust standards that are peer reviewed and incorporate new evidence based forms of treatment, enables stroke services to be configured in a way to ensure the best quality of care for all patients. A vital part for all stroke services is that they are subjected to rigorous quality improvement measures in order to attain clinical excellence and improve patient outcome and experience. This process should be integral to all aspects of stroke care across the whole pathway.

Why should BASP take action?

Despite advances in stroke care, there is still inequity in the delivery of key structures and processes of stroke management nationally as highlighted in the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP) (Acute Organisation Audit Report 2014). The challenge of translating evidence into routine clinical practice still remains a challenge. BASP will provide a series of standards and guidance against which to measure performance to act as a lever to aid clinicians to improve the quality of their service.

Our priorities will be:

  • Identify workforce requirements for the next 5 years
  • Work collaboratively with other bodies/organisations to support standards incorporating evidence based interventions
  • To support clinicians and commissioners in identifying where improvements are needed, planning for and lobbying for change

Why is this important?

Research is vital to improving care for people with stroke and at risk of stroke. Twenty years ago, stroke research was largely neglected by most funding agencies but since then much has been achieved in the UK, based on very modest investment. The Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation have been significant funders: the former awarding more than £40 million through 400 research grants over the last twenty years. The Stroke Research Network was founded by the National Institute of Health Research in 2005. Devolved administrations in the UK set up similar networks with funding from other organisations. In June 2010 eight Hyperacute Stroke Research Centres (HSRCs) were launched across England; providing researchers with infrastructure to conduct complex research round the clock. The structure of the NIHR clinical research network (CRN) changed in April 2015, and the impact of the loss of a dedicated stroke CRN remains to be determined. NIHR CRN: Stroke now takes the lead on portfolio delivery, working in partnership with the BASP scientific sub-committee on portfolio development. BASP has already funded an annual round of applications for two writing groups, to develop grant applications for research projects that would be eligible for inclusion on the UK CRN portfolio.

Why should BASP take action?

Stroke research is still disproportionately under-funded relative to other conditions (such as cancer and cardiovascular disease). Randomized controlled trials involving patients with stroke – especially of interventions for secondary prevention after stroke – still struggle to recruit to target.

Our priorities will be:

  • To work in collaboration with other bodies to promote research in stroke, delivering more studies and more participants
  • To ensure more publicity of research recently published and in progress
  • Encourage more stroke physicians to recruit patients to research in the UK CRN portfolio, and encourage those who are involved to recruit more patients
  • Promote research along the whole stroke care pathway
  • Work with the NIHR CRN to provide a resource to industry to help plan commercial studies for the UK
  • Work with RCP and SSNAP to encourage a research metric and target – so all stroke services contribute to clinical research.
  • Work with Health Education England and equivalent bodies in devolved nations to encourage development of more academic clinical fellowship programs in stroke and secure the future of stroke academic positions in UK universities.

Why is this important?

There is a need to provide highly skilled doctors, with specific knowledge and experience of managing patients with neurovascular disease, across the whole of the stroke pathway. These individuals are required to work alongside colleagues from multiple disciplines, to form a comprehensive stroke team. Consultants in stroke medicine are expected to have a broad and detailed knowledge, in an evolving medical field that is based upon current and evolving high quality scientific evidence. The training of the future consultant workforce may be varied but competency must be assured, transparently. There is an immediate and future risk to stroke care if either the quality or quantity of the next generation of stroke physicians does not meet rising demand. There are currently many unfilled consultant and higher specialist training posts across the UK.

Why should BASP take action?

BASP is in a unique position; its members have a specific insight into the knowledge required and clinical demands of practice. Members make a significant contribution to the clinical supervision of stroke training and undertake both the formative and summative assessments required for completion of specialist training.\r\n\r\nBASP has a role in assuring the shape of future training in stroke medicine, whilst acknowledging the significant recruitment difficulties the speciality is facing.\r\n

Our priorities will be:

  • To ensure that the consultant stroke physician workforce requirements now and in the future are met both in terms of quality and quantity.
  • To ensure equity of access throughout the nations to training posts.
  • To embrace and develop associations with other stakeholders.

PATIENTS & CARERS

If you are a patient or carer seeking advice about stroke, please visit our patients and carers page.

MORE INFORMATION

News

Stay up to date with the latest news and community papers published by BASP.

READ MORE

Events

Find out what events/conferences are taking place in and around your area regarding your fields of interest.

READ MORE

Become a member

Find out what events/conferences are taking place in and around your area regarding your fields of interest.

READ MORE