LOCAL medical charity NI Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) has welcomed the launch of the FAST campaign in Northern Ireland by the Public Health Agency. The FAST campaign will raise awareness of the early signs of stroke and encourage people to act quickly and treat stroke as a medical emergency.
Stroke is the largest single cause of disability in our community.
Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of NI Chest Heart & Stroke said, “It is important for everyone to recognise the signs and symptoms when someone is having a stroke, urgent medical treatment is needed and FAST action can have a major effect on the treatment and recovery of stroke. NICHS has campaigned since 1997 for the introduction of clot busting drugs to be used in the emergency treatment of stroke. It is very positive that all general hospitals in Northern Ireland are offering these drugs, provided individuals can have the drug within three hours of the onset of the stroke.”
Since 2008 with the advent of the Northern Ireland Stroke Strategy an additional £4.75m has been made available to improve the treatment and prevention of stroke. Unfortunately this time last year the Minister for Health was forced to withdraw an additional £4.25m for stroke. Stroke has been a neglected illness for decades, the total of £9m was to address those decades of neglect. NICHS asks the Minister to identify funds to ensure that £4.25m will be restored to combating stroke in Northern Ireland.
Chest, Heart and Stroke Statistics for Northern Ireland
* More than half of all deaths in Northern Ireland are caused by chest, heart or stroke illness.
* More than 7,500 people each year die from a chest, heart or stroke illness – that’s more than 20 every day.
* Around 3,000 people each year die from respiratory disease.
* 60 people a week die of heart disease.
* Nearly twice as many women under the age of 75 die from heart disease as from breast cancer.
* More than 3,000 people each year suffer a stroke.
* Heart disease and stroke kill more people than all the cancers combined.
Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s vision is a Northern Ireland where chest, heart and stroke illnesses have been substantially reduced and where those affected receive high quality services to meet their needs.
To achieve this the work of NICHS is focused in 4 areas: Research, Care Services, Advocacy and Lobbying and Health Promotion. All the work of NICHS is based within Northern Ireland, so every donation goes to support local services and people.
FAST refers to a response to a suspected stroke attack evaluating the functioning of a persons face, arms and speech.