NHS Isle of Wight supports National Stroke Awareness campaign
The quicker a stroke is spotted and treated, the better the chance of survival and recovery. That’s the aim of a new national campaign launched today which NHS Isle of Wight is supporting, to show people that a simple test called FAST – Face Arm Speech Test – which is already carried out by paramedics, can help everyone to spot the signs of a stroke and maybe save their own life or others.
Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability in the UK and the third most common cause of death, yet research shows many people don’t know the symptoms of a stroke, or how serious a stroke can be.
Robin Beal, Clinical Director for Access and Assessment at the Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust said: “Reducing the number of deaths from stroke is a key priority for the NHS. It is vital that everyone knows how to recognise the symptoms of a stroke by thinking FAST – Face Arm Speech Test and call 999 at the first signs of an attack so they get the right treatment quickly. That way we have a better chance of saving their life and preventing the disabilities that stroke can cause such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems.
FAST requires an assessment of three specific symptoms of stroke:
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
Shaun Carter, Clinical Effectiveness Manager for the IW Ambulance Service said: “The FAST test has been an integral part of our paramedics assessment of potential stroke patients for over 7 years; we have found it to be a quick, simple but effective way to identify patients requiring further assessment and treatment. The IW Ambulance Service attended over 250 suspected strokes last year. It is important that the public recognise the signs of stroke and carry out this quick, easy test themselves and call 999.”
Jeannine Johnson, Lead Stroke Nurse Specialist and Stroke Improvement Programme Manager said: “Last year around 400 people on the Island suffered a stroke with a further 200 experiencing a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA), frequently described as a mini stroke and often a sign that a “bigger” stroke is coming. It is therefore imperative that the public are aware of the symptoms of stroke in order to seek urgent medical help and try to minimise what has the potential to be a devastating impact.
"Both Nationally and here on the Island stroke is taken very seriously. NHS Isle of Wight now has a robust Stroke Improvement Programme and major investment and collaboration with the Local Authority, The National Stroke Association and proactive local Stroke Groups is happening at all stages of the Stroke Pathway in order to ensure that people who experience a stroke receive quality, evidence based treatment and support.”
Mr Bulpitt, an Island resident who had a stroke 3 years ago said: “I didn’t know what was happening to me but the people I was with at the time noticed that my face had weakened on one side and I remember losing all feeling down the left hand side of my body. Thankfully my friends spotted the signs and called 999 straightaway. Within minutes I was receiving treatment from the IW Ambulance Service and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital.
“If I hadn’t received treatment as quickly as I did that evening I really don’t think I would have made such a good recovery. It is so important that everyone is aware of the first signs of a stroke and the FAST check is such a good idea and so quick and easy, it can be a real life saver.”
Notes for Editors
For further information: Contact the NHS Isle of Wight communications team on 01983 534184 or 552003. Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.
1. The term ‘stroke’ describes a loss of brain function due to a blood clot or bleed in the brain.
2. When the Stroke strategy was launched in December 2007, it was announced that £45 million would be allocated to Local Authorities over the next three years (2008 – 2011) to improve stroke care for adult stroke survivors and their carers in the community.
3. Stroke statistics:
- Stroke is currently the third leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of adult disability in England
- An estimated 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year
- There are over 67,000 deaths due to stroke each year in the UK
- Stroke is the third most common cause of death in England and Wales, after heart disease and cancer
4. For more information on the National Stroke Strategy, visit: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_081062