About this release

The Scottish Stroke Improvement Programme 2022 annual national report includes data from the Scottish Stroke Care Audit (SSCA). This describes the quality of stroke care in each acute hospital, grouped by NHS board, during 2021, measuring each hospital against Scottish stroke care standards (2016).

Main points

  • During 2021, we have seen a much broader effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital and stroke services. At times, stroke services across Scotland will have suffered stroke unit closures because of outbreaks among patients and staff.
Image caption Stroke patients achieving inpatient stroke standards (2020–2021) compared with emergency department attendances treated with 4 hours and COVID-19 hospital admissions
  • There has been an increase in performance with brain imaging (89% in 2021 v. 86% in 2020) and aspirin initiation (92% v. 89%).
  • There have been challenges with swallow screening (73% in 2021 v. 79% in 2020) and stroke unit admission (71% v. 77%). These negative changes are believed to be impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


The SSCA monitors the quality of care provided by the hospitals in all NHS Boards by collating data collected by the stroke managed clinical networks (MCNs). Appropriate care is measured using the stroke care bundle, which comprises four key components: admission to a stroke unit, swallow screen, brain scan and aspirin. Not all patients are eligible for all four components. The stroke care bundle is important because achieving it is associated with a reduced risk of dying and an increased chance of getting back home. These data are used by the Scottish Government to monitor progress against the Scottish stroke care standards (2016) and the Scottish stroke improvement plan (2014). NHS Boards are expected to identify aspects of their stroke services which do not meet the Scottish standards and to work with their stroke MCNs to improve their standards of care locally.

Further information

Open data from this publication is available from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data platform.

For more information on the Scottish Stroke Improvement Programme see the Scottish Stroke Care Audit Website.

The next release of this publication will be July 2023.

NHS Performs

A selection of information from this publication is included in NHS Performs (external website) which is a website that brings together a range of information on how hospitals and NHS boards within NHSScotland are performing.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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