Personal profile

Biographical details

I am a practising consultant clinician, with a focus on development and testing of robust measures to look at clinical needs, inputs and outcomes. I focus on practice based research that can be implemented in real-life to improve the quality of patient care. I am committed to scientific rigour in relation to outcome measure development and application with an existing track record of impact. This has and will continue to produce a practical set of tools that patients and clinicians find useful for decision making in clinical rehabilitation, with a particular focus on rehabilitation, complex neuro-disability and spasticity management.


I trained in Physiotherapy at Salford University and graduated in 1993, completing an MSc in Neurorehabilitation at Brunel University London in 1998.  I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Greenwich.  I subsequently became lecturer and course director for the MSc Neurorehabilitation at Brunel University, while continuing to work clinically.  In 2003 I became clinical specialist and research physiotherapist at the Regional Hyper-acute Rehabilitation Unit, Northwick Park Hospital and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, King’s College London.  I completed my PhD at King’s College London investigating the measurement of patient reported arm function following treatment for spasticity.  In 2012 I became consultant physiotherapist and in 2013 NIHR Clinical Lecturer.  I completed a Post Graduate Certificate in non-medical prescribing in 2013, and independent prescribing in 2014 at London Southbank University. 

Research interests

I have published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in the rehabilitation literature as well as book chapters, national and international conference presentations and clinical guideline contributions, editing two major national guidelines on spasticity management. Latterly I have been lead editor for the national guideline update for spasticity from the Royal College of Physicians. I am also second author, contributing particularly to the systematic review, for the national inter-collegiate guideline for splinting management in neuro-disability with endorsement from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). I have contributed to the last two inter-collegiate guidelines on stroke published by the Royal College of Physicians and acted as a reviewer for the NICE guidance on stroke. I have an established track record as an expert in the management of complex neuro-disability and spasticity management with physical and pharmacological interventions.


I have developed with local, national and international colleagues a programme of research, which builds strongly on my clinical expertise in management of spasticity and the physical aspects of neurological rehabilitation.  The programme has incorporated development of outcome measurement using Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) in conjunction with measures such as the Arm Activity measure. During my NIHR lectureship I have developed the Leg Activity measure, Leg Therapy recording Schedule and Goal Attainment Scale Legs, which are now being used in practice for which I was awarded an NIHR CLAHRC fellowship. 


I have taken the lead role as investigating physiotherapy clinician for the Upper Limb International Spasticity (ULIS) programme (Ashford et al. 2015; Turner-Stokes et al. 2016). I am one of four senior investigators for the programme and lead on outcome measurement. This has resulted in a large number conference presentations and publications. The programme is international across 4 continents in 31 countries. Outcome measures I have developed such as the Arm Activity measure (ArmA) and Upper Limb Spasticity Therapy Schedule (ULSTR) have been used and in many cases incorporated into routine practice. In addition, measures such as the Leg Activity measure developed more recently are also now being used nationally and globally.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Assessment of functional improvement in the hemiparetic arm following focal rehabilitation intervention, King's College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2012

Master in Science, Brunel University London

Award Date: 1 Jan 1998

Bachelor of Science, University of Salford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993

External positions

Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Physiotherapist, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

2012 → …


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  • Fellowship

    Ashford, Stephen (Recipient), 31 Mar 2017

    Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively