Act FAST in 2010 to cut risk of stroke damage

People in Norfolk are being urged to continue looking out for the signs of stroke, as a national awareness campaign enters its second year.

The “FAST” campaign was set up to raise awareness of the signs of a stroke and the importance of acting immediately to prevent long lasting damage and NHS Norfolk wants people to remember the message and act “FAST” in 2010.

“FAST” stands for Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999:

  • Facial weakness – Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
  • Arm weakness – Can the person raise both arms?
  • Speech problems – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time to call 999 – If the person has any one of these symptoms call an ambulance.

The national campaign includes TV and press adverts showing stroke ‘spreading like fire in the brain’. It shows how the sooner you get to emergency treatment and ‘put the fire out’, the less damage is caused to the brain and the better the person’s chances of surviving and minimising long-term disability.

Stroke is the loss of brain function due to a clot or bleed in the brain. Each year 110,000 people in England and Wales have their first stroke. It is the single biggest cause of severe disability and the third most common cause of death in the UK.

Peter Rose, Regional Manager (East of England) at the Stroke Association said: “Stroke is the third biggest killer in the UK and hundreds of people in Norfolk die as a result of stroke every year.

“The Stroke Association has been promoting FAST since 2005. It’s a really simple and effective way for people to remember how to recognise the signs of stroke quickly. By acting FAST and treating stroke as a medical emergency we can significantly improve the chances of recovery for the thousands of people who have a stroke every year throughout the UK.”

Care for stroke patients has been developed by NHS Norfolk in collaboration with doctors and other clinical specialists from both acute hospitals in the county and community services as well as from stroke interest groups and carers. The aim is to provide the patient with a seamless transition through assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and going home.

It is NHS Norfolk's intention that by 2014, 99% of stroke patients should spend at least 90% of their recovery in a dedicated stroke unit. To that end, a new £8m stroke rehabilitation unit is opening soon, at Norwich Community Hospital.

A thrombolysis – or clot busting – service is also provided at both the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn

Monday 4th of January 2010 12:00:26 PM