Did you know that 1 in 4 Westcountry people would fail to call 999 when witnessing first signs of a stroke?

While the majority of people (93%) would call 999 if they saw a stroke, a quarter (24%) of people incorrectly think that they need to see two or more signs of a stroke before making the call. 116,829 people on GP registers in the South West have had a stroke and there were 4,127 deaths caused by strokes in the area in 2015.

Deputy Mayor and Councillor Derek Mills said: “The signs of a stroke are not always obvious to people and so that is why it is important to know the FAST test. It could make the difference to someone’s life.

“A stroke is a brain attack and by acting fast, you can make a huge difference. A stroke victim is more likely to survive a stroke and make a better recovery if 999 is called when you see any of the symptoms. The quicker you act the more of the person you save.”

New Act FAST campaign films feature stroke survivor radio DJ Mark Goodier and TV presenter Anna Richardson, encouraging local residents to call 999 as soon as they notice any one of the three key signs: Face, Arms, Speech.

Public Health England today launches its annual Act FAST campaign in the South West to remind people of the key symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the symptoms themselves or in others.

Research for PHE shows that 24% of people would wait to call an ambulance because they wrongly believe that they need to see two or more symptoms of stroke before making the call. Other barriers to dialling 999 include feeling that they need permission to act on behalf of others.

As part of the campaign, new films being released will encourage everyone in the South West, whether they are a stranger in the street, a family member at home or the person themselves, not to hesitate and to make the call immediately when they see any one of the key 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?

Radio DJ Mark Goodier, who had a stroke last November, and TV presenter Anna Richardson, whose father had a stroke, tell their personal stories alongside people who have survived a stroke; some who recovered well and others who have been left with life changing disabilities. The stories show how disability can be greatly reduced if people react quickly to any of the signs of a stroke.

About 117,000 people on GP registers in the area have had a stroke during their lifetime. In 2015 there were 4,127 deaths caused by stroke in the South West. Nationally, there are over 100,000 strokes a year in the UK, causing over 40,000 deaths with two thirds of stroke survivors leaving hospital with a disability. 

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