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Lal Russell

Lal Russell

Area of study
Systems and culture
Fellowship level
Year awarded
Host university
Stroke Research, Mental Health and Neurosciences, School of Medicine
University of Nottingham
Lal lives in Nottingham and is a Physiotherapist with a background in neurology and stroke. She has an MA in Research Methods and a special interest in severe disability following stroke. Lal also works on the HoRSSe (Home-based Rehabilitation for survivors of Stroke with Severe disability) study and works clinically in stroke-rehabilitation.

The National Clinical Audit Programme: An improvement tool for community stroke rehabilitation? (Project complete)


National clinical audit programmes are a recognised means of assessing quality of healthcare delivery by collecting audit data in relation to evidence based standards and reporting performance of healthcare providers. In the UK, the Health Quality Improvement Partnership runs a number of national clinical audit programmes, including the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP), informed by evidence based national clinical guidelines for stroke since 1998.

Evidence suggests that the stroke national audit has been successful in driving improvements in hospital based stroke care, by highlighting where clinical practice or service delivery is inconsistent across NHS trusts, and by comparison with accepted national clinical guidelines.

Like many of the national audit programmes, the stroke audit has historically focused on hospital based care. However, in line with a move over the last decade by the NHS to develop community based healthcare (now prioritised in the NHS Long Term Plan), audit programmes such as SSNAP have expanded to cover post-acute care pathways.

What has yet to be explored is the influence of such a national audit programme when focused on community based healthcare.


A mixed methods observational study with an explanatory sequential design consisting of 3 work packages:

  • Part 1: A literature review and evidence synthesis will be used to inform the development of a survey exploring participation and perspectives of the national stroke audit by community stroke team leads with descriptive statistics used for analysis.
  • Part 2: Semi-structured interviews with a representative sample of stakeholders (service providers and commissioners) to offer deeper investigation of themes that arise from Part 1.
  • Part 3: Historic prospective SSNAP data routinely collected by purposively selected community stroke teams, to investigate variability and associations between data variables relating to delivery of rehabilitation and patient outcomes. Data analysis will include time series and mixed-effects regression analysis designed to investigate changes over time, relationships between patient characteristics, service delivery and patient outcomes.

The overall aim will be to understand how meaningful comparisons between services currently are. Findings will be used to generate recommendations for how national audit data could be optimally used and reported across teams to ensure meaningful comparisons and drive service improvement.


Conference posters:

Russell, L., Lewis, S., Chouliara, N., James, N., Fisher, R. (2023) How can the UK’s National Stroke Audit drive quality improvement in post-hospital care? Submitted as a poster presentation to European Stroke Conference 2023. Munich.

Russell, L., Lewis, S., Chouliara, N., James, N., Fisher, R. (2023) How can prospective national audit drive quality improvement in the community setting? Submitted as a poster presentation to UK Stroke Forum 2023. Birmingham.

Russell, L., Lewis, S., Chouliara, N., James, N., Fisher, R. (2022)
How is the post-acute national stroke registry perceived by stakeholders in England and how is data currently used? Submitted as a poster presentation to World Stroke Congress 2022. Singapore

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