Press release

Hard-hitting TV adverts show anyone can be a stroke saver by acting FAST

A hard-hitting campaign which aims to save lives by showing people how to spot the signs and symptoms of stroke returns to TV screens today (March 4).

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


The Act FAST campaign aims to show people the signs and symptoms they should look for to identify someone suffering from a stroke, with the aim of making everyone a potential ‘stroke-saver’.

Following a successful campaign last year, the NHS in England saw a 25 per cent rise in stroke related 999 calls, and a 19 per cent rise in stroke sufferers being seen quicker.

The Act FAST campaign has been running since 2009. It features striking TV adverts which will run until March 24 and aim to help people identify the symptoms of stroke by acting FAST. It explains that 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

**Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: **

“Despite being a treatable condition, stroke continues to be the third leading cause of death in England and the largest cause of adult disability. It does not need to be this way. 

“The Act FAST campaign continues to save lives and prevent disability by showing us that anyone can be a stroke saver just by making sure they know how to spot the signs - and acting FAST if they see them.”

“Treatment for stroke is improving, with more and more patients being seen in specialist stroke units. However, in order for stroke victims to get the treatment they need quickly, it’s essential that we are all aware of the signs and symptoms so we can Act FAST.”

**Joe Korner; Director of Communications for the Stroke Association said: **

“Stroke is a medical emergency, so it is essential everyone can recognise the signs and act. Time lost is brain lost.

“A stroke is a brain injury caused by a blockage or bleed in the brain.  Getting appropriate treatment fast reduces the amount of brain damage and improves the chance of making a good recovery. 

“We are delighted that the Government is committed to sharing this important message which will save lives. At the Stroke Association we work to challenge the many misconceptions about stroke.   It is possible to treat stroke and every step on the road to recovery matters. Recovery starts when you call 999.”

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. It will also target people of black African andCaribbeanand South Asian origins, as they are twice as likely to suffer stroke as people of European origin.

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 5436.
Published 4 March 2013