Act FAST to save lives

Public Health England (PHE) has launched its annual Act FAST campaign to remind people of the main symptoms of stroke and the importance of dialing 999 immediately if they spot any of the tell-tale signs.

In Greater Manchester, over 6,000 people every year have a stroke and it kills over 40,000 people a year worldwide. It is the biggest cause of disability in the UK and around two-thirds of stroke survivors will be left with some form of disability.

Most strokes are caused by a clot that interrupts blood flow to the brain, but around 15% are caused by bleeding on the brain. Time is brain – the longer a stroke goes untreated, the more long term damage is caused.

The PHE campaign encourages everyone to call 999 straight away when they see any of the main stroke symptoms:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

Research shows that rapid access to high quality specialist stroke care is essential in improving the chances survival and of making a good recovery afterwards.

In 2015, Greater Manchester re-organised its hospital stroke services so that everyone who has stroke symptoms is now taken to one of three Hyper Acute Stroke Units at Salford Royal, Stepping Hill or Fairfield General Hospitals.

This means that all our residents now have 24/7 access to urgent assessments like brain scanning, clot busting treatments as well as care from specialist stroke staff.

As a result of these changes, the region now provides ‘A’ rated stroke care to every resident regardless of where they live, with Stepping Hill Hospital recently named as the best performing stroke unit in the country.

We estimate that at least 70 lives a year have also been saved, with stroke survivors also spending less time in hospital afterwards recovering.

Network Hospital Clinical Lead, Dr Jane Molloy said “Getting people with stroke symptoms to a specialist hospital as quickly as possible is crucial. The changes we have made to services in Greater Manchester mean that more people are surviving their stroke than ever before”.

“With 80% of strokes preventable, the Network is working to reduce the number of people that have a stroke through health education and lifestyle changes.”

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