Posted on Friday 18th March 2011
Senior physicians at North Cumbria University Hospitals are backing a campaign to raise awareness of how to spot the signs of stroke and how to react.
Since its launch two years ago, the Act FAST campaign has raised awareness of the importance of getting people who are having a stroke to hospital quickly through its graphic depiction of stroke spreading like fire in the brain. The adverts, which feature hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke, can be seen on TV screens again this month as part of a national campaign.
The Act FAST campaign is designed to inform the public about FAST – Face, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999. If a patient’s face falls on one side, cannot lift both arms and keep them there, and has slurred speech, it is important to call 999 quickly as time is of the essence in treating a stroke patient.
Dr Paul Davies, Consultant Stroke Physician at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, said: “The FAST advertising campaign has helped many people recognise the main symptoms of a stroke. However, some people are still not treating the symptoms as an emergency. It is very important that people who develop new facial droop, arm weakness or speech problems call 999 so they can be treated urgently.”
It was announced in 2010 that stroke patients in north Cumbria will benefit from an innovative new service around the clock from later this year. Telestroke is an innovative way of assessing whether a patient should be given thrombolysis – a clot-busting treatment – using technology similar to video conferencing.
Physicians at hospitals across Cumbria and Lancashire will be able to carry out basic neurological examinations, look at CT brain scans and assess whether patients would benefit from thrombolysis – all done remotely via video link. It is hoped the service will be up and running by this summer.
The Act FAST adverts can be seen on television until next week.
Joe Korner, Director of Communications at The Stroke Association, said: “We know these adverts have saved lives by making people aware of the symptoms of stroke and the importance of getting to hospital quickly. Many people have contacted us to say how they’ve used FAST and how it’s made a difference to the recovery of their loved ones.
“We’re pleased with the impact and progress the campaign has made and urge everyone to remember the FAST message.”