A leading stroke care campaigner for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) has helped to launch a national campaign to promote public awareness of the life-threatening condition.
David Davis, Paramedic and Stroke Lead for SECAmb , has been working closely with the Department of Health and the Stroke Association on the campaign which was launched this week
Stroke - a loss of brain function due to a clot or a bleed in the brain - is the third leading cause of death and the single largest cause of disability in England. It kills more than 67,000 people in the UK each year.
SECAmb has been working at the forefront of stroke care and has been praised recently by the Stroke Association as a "beacon" of good practice. The Trust's stroke work, which has been saving lives and preventing long-term disability in patients, has included ensuring more stroke patients get to specialist stroke services and helping to pilot a pioneering stroke care course for emergency medical professionals, called Advanced Stroke Life Support.
The newly-launched national stroke campaign will inform the public about FAST - Face, Arms Speech, Time to Call 999. FAST is a simple test to help people recognize the signs of stroke and understand the importance of swift emergency treatment.
Face: Has the person's face fallen on one side? Can they smile
Arms: Can they raise both arms and keep them there
Speech: Is their speech slurred, or is there difficulty in understanding
Time: Time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs.
South East Coast Ambulance Service was formed on 1 July 2006, following the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance trusts and is one of twelve ambulance services operating in England. It covers an area of 3,600 square miles and a resident population of 4.5 million across East and West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Kent and Medway and Surrey.
The trust responds to 999 calls from the public, immediate and urgent calls from health professionals, as well as providing non-emergency Patient Transport Services (pre-booked patient journeys to and from healthcare facilities) in some areas. It employs more than 3,000 staff across 60 sites, more than half of whom are paramedics and ambulance technicians.
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