Department of Health and Social Care
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Stroke Calls up by Over Half Following ACT F.A.S.T. Campaign

Stroke Calls up by Over Half Following ACT F.A.S.T. Campaign

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 06 November 2009

The Department of Health’s Act F.A.S.T. campaign has led to an increase of more than half (55.5%) in stroke calls to 999*.

New research published today also shows that 84% of the public remember the campaign and its graphic depiction of stroke spreading like fire in the brain.

The Act F.A.S.T. campaign has raised awareness of the importance of quick treatment to stroke survivors such as Owain Wyn-Jones, 30, from Shropshire, whose life was saved when his fiancé Laraine Adams identified his face dropping and slurred speech as a sign of stroke, having seen the campaign adverts. Owain says his girlfriend’s quick reaction probably saved his life.

Commenting on the campaign, Health Minister Ann Keen said:

“Stroke is still one of the biggest causes of death and disability in England. It’s important that everyone recognises the signs and realises the importance of dialling 999 as quickly as possible. The faster treatment begins the more we can limit damage caused to the brain. The Act F.A.S.T. campaign has clearly had a big impact already and I hope more people will now see it and learn when to act fast and save lives.”

The Act F.A.S.T. campaign launched in February this year with hard-hitting imagery to highlight the visible signs of stroke and encourage people to call 999 as soon as possible. Advertising to support the Act F.A.S.T campaign will recommence on Monday 9 th November. The ongoing campaign is designed to inform the public about FASTFace, Arm, Speech, Time to call 999. FAST is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of stroke and understand the importance of emergency treatment. The faster a stroke patient receives treatment, the better their chances are of surviving and reducing long-term disability.

It is hoped that the Act F.A.S.T campaign will continue to help increase awareness of stroke, and equip people with knowledge about the signs of stroke so that they can help family, friends and others should a stroke occur. Over half (59%) of those questioned had been affected by stroke in some way, with 7% having suffered a stroke themselves and 35% having a family member who had.

Responding to the research, Joe Korner, Director of External Communications at the Stroke Association said:

“The FAST adverts have really made an impact - the more people that recognise stroke symptoms and get emergency treatment the better. Calling an ambulance and getting to hospital immediately can make all the difference for stroke survivors. For many, this prompt action will substantially improve their quality of life.”

Direct stroke care costs the NHS £2.8 billion a year, with a further £1.8 billion lost in income and productivity as a result of disability. A new online test has also been launched by the NHS to help people to recognise all the signs of stroke and prompt 999 calls when necessary. It can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/actfast/pages/know-the-signs.aspx

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact the Department of Health news desk on 0207 210 5221

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1762 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 th and 30 th October 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in England (aged 18+).

2. * This data was taken from a comparison of nearly four months’ calls between 2008 and 2009 (following the launch of the campaign on February 9 th ), and was based on seven ambulance trust regions: East Midlands; London; North West; South East Coast; East of England; Great Western and South West.

3. For more information on the National Stroke Strategy, visit: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyandguidance/dh_081062

4. When Stroke Strikes ACT FAST

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 – time to call 999 If you see any single one of these signs

5. The term ‘stroke’ describes a loss of brain function due to a blood clot or bleed in the brain.

6. In 2009/10, we have made available resources to the deaneries to fund at least 30 stroke specialist physician training places.

7. Stroke statistics

Every year approximately 110,000 people in England have a stroke. Stroke is the third largest cause of death in England: 11 per cent of deaths in England are as a result of stroke. Stroke contributes to the gap in life expectancy between the most deprived areas and the population as a whole. 20–30 per cent of people who have a stroke die within a month. 25 per cent of strokes occur in people who are under the age of 65. There are over 900,000 people living in England who have had a stroke. Stroke is the single largest cause of adult disability. 300,000 people in England live with moderate to severe disability as a result of stroke. People from certain ethnic minorities are at a higher risk of stroke.

8. The Department of Health’s campaign to promote awareness around stroke will cost £11.5 million

9. For further information and statistics on stroke, contact The Stroke Association at:

Stroke House, 240 City Road, London, EC1V 2PR

Phone: 020 7566 0300
Fax: 020 7490 2686
Textphone: 020 7251 9096

For further information on stroke, the Stroke Helpline is on 0845 3033 100 (calls charged at local rate) and is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Email: info@stroke.org.uk or write to: Stroke Information Service, The Stroke Association, 240 City Road, London EC1V 2PR

10. For more information on the Act F.A.S.T. campaign visit www.nhs.uk/actfast

Contacts:

Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221
NDS.DH@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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