Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are supporting the annual ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ stroke campaign.

On 2 February 2017, Public Health England will relaunch the national “Act FAST” stroke campaign, working closely with the Stroke Association. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999. F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999.

There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke. These include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms.

Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

Approximately 110,000 people have a stroke each year in England. It is the third largest cause of death, and the largest cause of complex disability; over half of all stroke survivors are left with a disability.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said: “Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment by stroke specialists, the less damage is likely to happen to the brain. This then gives them a better chance of a good recovery.”

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Act FAST. Make the Call. Dial 999.

Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG and local GP said: “If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.”

Search ‘Act FAST’ for more information

Additional resources:

When stroke strikes act FAST

When stroke strikes act FAST (Large Print)

When stroke strikes act FAST (Audio):

Act FAST if you think someone is having a stroke (Easy Read)

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