New initiative builds on Strategy success

Tuesday, 06 January, 2009

Stroke awareness campaign launched

A three-year £12 million communications campaign to promote public awareness around stroke has been announced by Health Minister Ann Keen.
The campaign will be launched next month and will be supported by advertising, public relations and direct marketing communications.

Stroke, the loss of brain function due to a blood clot or bleed in the brain, is the third leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of adult disability in England.

The awareness campaign will teach the public and NHS staff to remember FAST - Face Arm Speech Time to call 999 - to help them recognise the symptoms of stroke and understand that prompt emergency treatment can reduce the risk of death and disability.

Improving public awareness of the symptoms of stroke is a key element of the National Stroke Strategy, published just over a year ago. Since the launch of the strategy, major progress has been made in the organisation of stroke services.

The National Stroke Strategy mandated the establishment of Stroke Care Networks to ensure that health and social care services for stroke are better integrated and better planned. All services in England now fall within a Stroke Care Network.

The Networks ensure that patients experience a seamless transition across stroke services within and between health and social care, and help the NHS and Local Authorities to work together effectively to drive forward improvements in care.
The Royal College of Physicians' Sentinel Audit published in August 2008 showed that 96 percent of hospitals in England now offer specialist acute stroke care. Improvements have also been made to the management of minor strokes.

Launching the campaign, Health Minister Ann Keen said, "As a former nurse, I know the NHS is rising to the challenges set out one year ago in the National Stroke Strategy by driving forward significant improvements in both emergency stroke services and long term rehabilitative care for people who have had a

"We want to build on this progress by helping the public to recognise the symptoms of stroke and dial 999 quickly. This campaign will give people a better understanding of stroke and the importance of fast treatment so that more lives can be saved and more long-term disabilities prevented."

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