Long Term Conditions

Return to work after stroke (RETAKE)

Could extra rehabilitation help people return to work earlier after a stroke?

The RETAKE study is a four-year study that aims to determine whether early stroke specific vocational rehabilitation (ESSVR) in addition to usual NHS rehabilitation (UC) is more effective and cost effective at returning stroke survivors to work and keeping them there at 12 months post-randomisation than UC alone. The HTA has granted the project a two year extension from 1st Dec 2021 to 30 Nov 2023.

Principal Investigator: Dr Kate Radford

Retake logo



Return to work is a major goal for many stroke survivors but achieved by fewer than half of working people. There is a lack of evidence on how best to support stroke survivors wanting to RTW.

A new therapy has been developed ‘Early Stroke Specific Vocational Rehabilitation’ (ESSVR). This is delivered by occupational therapists and includes matching survivors’ abilities to job demands and negotiating return to work with an existing employer.

Design and methods

We are conducting a definitive 20 centre multicentre randomised controlled trial to test the clinical effectiveness of ESSVR and usual care (compared to usual care alone) at returning stroke survivors to work and keeping them there 12 months after stroke.

Alongside the trial we are conducting an economic evaluation (to test for cost effectiveness) and a process evaluation to examine what was actually delivered during the trial and to elicit stroke survivors and staff’s views. We aim to recruit 760 stroke survivors, aged 18 or over and employed at the time of stroke, from 20 NHS centres. Approximately half will be randomly allocated to ESSVR in addition to their usual NHS rehabilitation (usual Care), and half to usual care alone. We will follow up participants with postal questionnaires at three, six and 12 months and offer help over the telephone when needed.

The trial has an eight site internal pilot in the first year to check that we are recruiting to target across multiple sites and are collecting the expected number of questionnaires.

The trial is led by Dr Kate Radford, Associate Professor in Rehabilitation Research at the University of Nottingham and managed by the Leeds Clinical Trial Unit.


The trial opened to recruitment in May 2018 and will now complete by the end of December 2023 due to an extension.

Research team
  • Dr Kate Radford
  • Dame Professor Caroline Watkins
  • Ms Suzanne Hartley
  • Professor Rory O'Connor
  • Mrs Ivana Holloway
  • Professor Amanda Farrin
  • Dr Judith Stevens
  • Mr John Duncan Murray
  • Professor Christopher McKevitt
  • Professor Marion Fraser Walker
  • Professor Tracey Sach
  • Mrs Kate Hooban
  • Professor Audrey Bowen
  • Dr Les Stuart Smith



The RETAKE study is a definitive national randomised control trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA 15/130/1).

ISRCTN12464275 https://doi.org/10.1186/ISRCTN12464275 

Visit the RETAKE website

Is your site interested in being part of the study?

Find out more.


Press release


August 2018

December 2018

January 2019

October 2019

February 2020

April 2020

Dec 2020 

Sept 2021

Dec 2021

Jun 2022



Study summary


For further information please email: Retake@leeds.ac.uk or kate.radford@nottingham.ac.uk. or call 0115 8230226.





Long Term Conditions Research Group

School of Medicine
Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing
telephone: +44 (0)115 823 0226