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    Know the warning signs of a stroke and Act F.A.S.T

    Act FastHaving a stroke is a medical emergency and it’s important to know and understand what signs to look out for and to dial 999 immediately.

    Strokes are the largest cause of disability in the UK and the fourth biggest killer.

    In 2019/20 around 540 residents in Tameside and Glossop had a stroke with around 28% dying at the time.

    In Greater Manchester, around 4,500 residents a year have a stroke with around 13% dying at the time and a quarter within a year. Around two thirds of stroke survivors are left with some form of physical, mental or emotional disability – often completely life changing.

    We know that during the first wave of the pandemic, many people with medical emergencies were reluctant to come to hospital and may have missed out on life changing treatment.

    Having a stroke or a ‘mini stroke’ (known as a Transient Ischaemic Attack where symptoms may be temporary) is a medical emergency. Even now, hospital is the safest place to be and the region’s stroke services are ready and waiting to look after patients.  

    Knowing the signs of a stroke is key and people need to Act F.A.S.T. if they or someone close to them experience the following:

    Face – has their face drooped?
    Arms – do they have arm weakness?
    Speech – Is it slurred or absent?
    Time – Time to dial 999 immediately!!!

    Every second of delay perhaps through speaking to others, calling a GP practice or 111 may lead to further loss of brain cells and reduce the chances of survival or avoiding disability.

    Stroke is a medical emergency - if you spot the signs, Act F.A.S.T. and dial 999 immediately.

    Dr Ashwin Ramachandra, Co-Chair at NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “With all the publicity around the coronavirus, it is easy to forget that there are other serious health conditions that cause death and disability.  I urge people not to delay in seeking medical help if they suspect they’re having a stroke or someone they’re with is showing signs of a stroke.

    “Don’t hesitate to dial 999. Trained medical health professionals at the hospital will be ready and waiting to take good care of you.  Hospitals are one of the safest places for you to visit during the pandemic.”

    Ann Bamford, stroke survivor and Co-Chair of the Greater Manchester Integrated Stroke Delivery Network, said: I know from personal experience that having a stroke can completely change your life. People need dial 999 if they or a loved one have stroke like symptoms, as hospital really is the best place to be - even during the pandemic.”

    For more information or to get involved follow @GMISDN or visit their website at: www.gmisdn.org.uk.

    People can also find out more about Act F.A.S.T. on the CCG’s website at: https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/actfast