Press release

Acting FAST proves it can save hundreds of lives

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Latest figures show that the annual Act FAST stroke campaign has had a significant impact on patients receiving stroke treatment

Latest figures show that the annual Act FAST stroke campaign has had a significant impact on patients receiving stroke treatment.

Last year alone, in the two months after the adverts finished running and people’s awareness of the signs increased, the NHS in England saw a 24 per cent rise in stroke related 999 calls, and a 16 per cent rise in stroke sufferers being seen quicker following the campaign in 2011.

With evidence that awareness has improved how quickly patients receive stroke treatment, a campaign set to save the lives of stroke victims from across the country, launches today. These hard hitting adverts aim to get people suffering from stroke to hospital as FAST as possible.

The Act FAST campaign will include striking TV adverts running from February 27 to March 25 and will help people to identify the symptoms of stroke by acting FAST.

People should look for:

  • 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

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in England each year and the leading cause of disability.  The Act FAST campaign has proved it works and we are confident the Act FAST campaign will once again have a very positive impact for people suffering from stroke.

“Treatment for stroke is improving all the time, the majority of patients are being taken to specialist stroke units and latest figures show 83 per cent see a stroke consultant within 24 hours.  However, we are not complacent and are clear that more can be done to improve results for patients.”

Jon Barrick, CEO of The Stroke Association said:

“When it comes to stroke, time lost is brain lost.  A stroke is caused by a blockage or a bleed in the brain, which cuts off the brain’s flow of oxygen and causes brain cells to die.

“Some people may be able to receive clot busting treatments which can quickly restore the flow of blood to the brain and significantly reduce the amount of brain damaged. Recognising the symptoms of stroke and acting quickly is therefore absolutely vital.

“We’re for life after stroke and we know that these adverts save lives.  As the leading charity concerned with stroke in the UK we welcome the Government’s commitment to broadcasting these lifesaving public health messages. We originally funded the research to develop the FAST message and we’re delighted with the impact and progress the campaign has made.”

The TV adverts will help raise everyone’s awareness, but specifically target adults aged 55+, who are most likely to suffer from a stroke and also the most likely to be stroke savers.

Notes to editors

1.    For further information, patient case studies to support your story or for access to a clip from the TV adverts, please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221.