Stroke calls up following national campaign

Stroke campaign poster - FASTMore people are calling 999 across the capital about suspected strokes following a national campaign.

Figures released today (9 November) show that the London Ambulance Service saw a 42 per cent increase in stroke calls in the four months after the start of the Department of Health’s act F.A.S.T. campaign, which was launched at the Service’s headquarters in February.

F.A.S.T is a simple test to help people to recognise the signs of a stroke and understand the importance of fast emergency treatment. F.A.S.T stands for: Facial weakness on one side, Arm weakness on one side, Slurred speech or difficulty communicating, Time is of the essence—if you spot these symptoms call 999 immediately

London Ambulance Service Medical Director Fionna Moore said: “We would always encourage Londoners who think that they or someone they know may be suffering a stroke to call 999 for an ambulance as soon as possible.

“The FAST test is very simple and very easy to remember so it can act as a great tool for everyone.

“When our staff arrive they will assess the patient, before taking them to the nearest appropriate A&E department as quickly as possible.

“The quicker that we can reach these patients and they can receive expert clinical care, the better their chances of making a full recovery.”

Stroke patients across the capital will benefit from being taken straight to a specialist hospital from April 2010.

Eight hyper-acute stroke units (HASUs) will operate 24/7 in London – patients will have quick access to a CT scan and advanced treatment.

Fionna added: “This is really good news for Londoners. Under the new arrangements, stroke patients will be taken straight to a hospital where they will immediately receive the best possible treatment from expert clinicians.”

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Note to editors:

  • For further information on the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the Communications Department on 020 7921 5113.
  • For more information about stroke please visit our Emergency Stroke Care section.
  • This data was taken from a comparison of nearly four months’ 999 calls between 2008 and 2009 (following the launch of the campaign on 9 February), and was based on the chief complaint given by the caller to our staff in the control room.

Rise in stroke 999 calls broken down into primary care trusts

Primary Care Trust

Percentage increase in 999 calls where stroke was recorded as the chief complaint February-May 2008 to February-May 2009

Waltham Forest

73

Barking & Dagenham

70

Redbridge

68

Ealing

66

Havering

66

Harrow

63

Southwark

54

Kensington & Chelsea

50

Lambeth

48

Haringey

47

Tower Hamlets

47

Camden

44

Barnet

44

Newham

43

Hillingdon

40

Enfield

40

Greenwich

39

Brent

39

Merton & Sutton

39

Kingston

38

Wandsworth

36

Croydon

35

Bromley

35

Outside of London

33

Hounslow

33

Hammersmith & Fulham

32

Bexley

31

Westminster

30

City & Hackney

28

Lewisham

19

Islington

19

Richmond & Twickenham

12

London average

42