Residents in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being urged not to delay seeing help if they have signs of having a stroke

Some hospitals in Lancashire and South Cumbria are experiencing a reduction in people attending with symptoms of a stroke.

Doctors, Nurses, former Stroke Survivors and their carers are worried that people are not acting on the signs of a stroke quick enough and want to therefore reassure patients.

Together they are encouraging people to recognise the main signs of stroke and dial 999. 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.

James Barker, Stroke Consultant and Clinical Lead for Stroke atRoyal Lancaster Infirmary said: “If you or a loved one experiences 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.”

Phil Woodford, a stroke survivor from Catterall, said: “We understand that people might not want to attend hospital at the moment but I’d urge anyone that if they need to make that call, to do so and dial 999 without delay. Your local NHS is doing everything it can to keep people safe while they are in hospital and I would have not hesitate attending if I had repeat symptoms.

“I know it can be scary; I’ve been there myself but every minute counts towards treatment and recovery. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage that is likely to happen.

“As the Chair of the local Patient and Carers ISNDN Assurance Group, I would like to express our sincere thanks to our NHS heroes for keeping us all safe and for caring for stroke survivors at an extremely frightening and vulnerable time in their lives.”

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

Jennifer Gardner, Associate Director North West for the Stroke Association, said: “By acting FAST and calling 999, 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 more information on stroke, please visit the NHS website at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/ or the Stroke Association at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/.