New Campaign Urges People to Think Fast to Save a Life

Health professionals are launching a new campaign in Forth Valley to help people recognise the signs of stroke and react quickly.

The ThinkFAST campaign, which is being organised by NHS Forth Valley and Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS), is designed to emphasise that calling 999 as soon as possible if stroke symptoms are suspected, could save a life and limit damage to the brain. A national survey of stroke patients following a previous campaign showed that recognition of symptoms increased from 35% to 49% and those seeking help immediately rose from 46% to 62%. The campaign also received a boost from a new advert which features some of the cast of Still Game.

NHS Forth Valley Senior Planning Manager David Munro explained: “Stroke is a medical emergency and by calling 999 you can help someone reach hospital quickly and receive the early assessment and treatment they need. Prompt action can prevent further damage to the brain and minimise the impact of a stroke. Delay can increase the risk of death or major long-term disabilities, such as paralysis, severe memory loss and communication problems. Don’t ignore symptoms in the hope that they will go away.”

NHS Forth Valley Stroke Specialist Nurse Amanda Smart said: “The warning signs of a stroke are easy to learn and can make a life changing difference.  It is important to recognise the signs and act FAST.’”

CHSS Chief Executive David Clark added: “More than 12,000 people in Scotland have a stroke every year so it is essential that people can spot the symptoms and take prompt action as this can make all the difference to your chances of making the best possible recovery.”

The FAST message was developed by leading stroke physicians and focuses on how an attack affects the Face, Arms and Speech while T highlights that it’s time to call the emergency services.

Information stands are being set up in Forth Valley Royal Hospital and supermarkets across the area. The campaign also includes the distribution of 47,000 small cards to local pharmacies. The alert cards, which can be stored in a purse or wallet, will be placed inside prescription bags for certain patients including those taking statins, warfarin, digoxin, blood pressure tablets and aspirin. The campaign will also be supported by local radio advertising.