Act fast if you spot the signs of a stroke

Ambulance crew with patient
Act fast if you spot the signs of a stroke
04 February 2016

People have been urged to be aware and act fast if they spot the signs of stroke.

The life-threatening condition is one of the most common 999 calls the region’s ambulance service receives and received 7,757 emergency calls last winter to help patients who had suffered a suspected stroke.

As part of its ‘Wise up for winter’ campaign, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is reminding people in the East to be aware of the signs.

Area Clinical Lead Dan Phillips, EEAST’s stroke lead, said it is “absolutely fundamental” that 999 is called when one of the symptoms of a stroke is detected.

“The main reason why people do not get rapid access to high quality care is they wait too long to phone 999. The symptoms of stroke come on suddenly and it does not build up for a period of time. If people recognise the symptoms quickly, we can get help for them quickly. They may feel they have a numb arm or slurred speech, but do not feel ill, so do not want to call for an ambulance,” he said.

Eileen Fudge, 78, from Watford, acted fast when she became confused and didn’t know how to turn her laptop on last November. She called 999 and despite not knowing her address, an emergency ambulance was dispatched and got her to hospital quickly to receive thrombolysis.

“I am very grateful. The ambulance men were fantastic and called my son for me and got me to hospital quickly and the person on the other end of the phone knew exactly what to do.

“It could have been very different because by the time we got to hospital, they could not understand what I was saying and I could not see from my right eye. You need to act fast,” she said.

Remember to act F.A.S.T. Does the patient have facial weakness, arm weakness, or speech problems? If they have one of those signs or suspect a stroke, call 999 immediately.

For more information, visit http://www.nhs.uk/actfast/pages/know-the-signs.aspx

Advice under the Trust’s #winterwise banner can be found at www.eastamb.nhs.uk,  on Facebook and on Twitter, and the NHS ‘Stay well this winter’ campaign can be accessed by visiting www.nhs.uk/staywell.

To view a Q&A with the Trust’s stroke lead, visit https://eastenglandamb.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/guest-blog-dan-phillips-talks-about-stroke/

County breakdown of 999 calls regarding stroke last winter

Bedfordshire – 773

Cambridgeshire – 920

Essex - 2,552

Hertfordshire – 1,230

Norfolk – 1,264

Suffolk – 1,018 

East of England Ambulance Headquarters
Whiting Way
Melbourn
Cambridgeshire
SG8 6EN
Sat Nav postcode SG8 6NA