NHS England has announced a roll-out of expert stroke teams across the country as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The teams are set to ensure that thousands more people ‘survive and thrive’, with hundreds more lives already saved through the introduction of stroke networks across two major cities.

A new study has found that 170 extra lives are saved a year in London and Manchester alone thanks to the establishment of the Hyper Acute Stroke Units (HASUs), which bring experts and equipment under one roof to provide world-class care and treatment around the clock, reducing death rates and long-term disability.

The NHS Confederation welcomed the news, with Niall Dickson, chief executive saying: “Every second counts for stroke patients and faster access to Hyper Acute Stroke Units at the centre of a network of local hospitals is vital for specialist diagnosis and treatment, such as brain scans, clot-busting drugs and mechanical thrombectomy.

"Research finding lives are being saved thanks to expert stroke teams in London and Manchester is welcome for patients who will be pleased that these teams will be rolled out across the country.

“However, our survey this week found that health leaders face challenges delivering the ambitious vision of improved care for patients set out in the new NHS Long Term Plan without urgent government action on wider health funding.”

The units have operated in London since 2010 and Manchester since 2015. Prior to their introduction, patients were taken to the nearest hospital A&E department in the capital to receive immediate care, followed by treatment on a general ward.