Act FAST against strokes: Don’t let COVID-19 stop you

Encouraging people to act on the signs of a stroke: Face, Arms, Speech, Time to call 999

People in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being urged not to delay seeking help if they have signs of having a stroke and to ‘Act FAST’ to help save lives.

NHS staff have been working together to ensure that stroke care and urgent treatment can safely continue while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinicians are concerned that people are putting off getting help when they need it due to COVID-19 worries or may be failing to recognise the signs of a stroke.

A stroke is a serious life-threatening condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. A stroke often results in people being taken by ambulance to A&E for emergency treatment, but some people are arriving too late to benefit from the lifesaving and disability preventing treatments that are available in our hospitals.

Catherine Curley, nurse consultant in stroke medicine at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “When somebody has a stroke, every second that goes by is crucial.


“If you or a loved one experience stroke symptoms, please help us help you. Act FAST and call 999. Our expert paramedics, stroke nurses, radiologists and doctors will ensure you get the care you need as quickly as possible.”

The main signs of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

Catherine added: “It’s really important to remember that the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.”

The NHS across Lancashire and South Cumbria is highlighting the Act FAST campaign to encourage people to recognise the main signs of stroke and dial 999.

Jennifer Gardner, head of stroke support at the Stroke Association, said: “By acting FAST and getting access to world-class treatments the NHS provides, you can help save lives.


“If you suspect that you, or someone you’re with, may be having a stroke don’t hesitate to seek medical help. Think FAST: Face, Arms, Speech – it’s time to call 999. The quicker you are diagnosed and treated for a stroke, the better your chances of making a good recovery. Now more than ever, during this pandemic we must remain focused on making and keeping stroke a priority for the UK.”

For information about stroke, visit the NHS website. If you have had a stroke and you’re worried about COVID-19, visit the Stroke Association’s dedicated webpage.