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Nwicker60
04-Jul-11, 13:35
Pharmacies to support the FAST
message on early stroke signs

PATIENTS picking up prescriptions from Highland pharmacies will now be able to pick up information cards reminding them about the FAST (Face, Arm and Speech Test) message which gives guidance on how to recognise the symptoms of stroke quickly.
The FAST campaign was run in NHS Highland in 2009 and since then a number of initiatives, including blood pressure check stands in supermarkets and the FAST message being displayed on Scottish Ambulance patient transport vehicles, have played their part in keeping the information current.
To further promote the message pharmacies across Highland will now display bookmark sized stands highlighting those who could be at a higher risk of stroke either due to their particular health condition or the medication they are on. The cards are there for patients to take with them and will give them information on what signs to look out for and what to do if they think they, or someone they know, is having a stroke.
Dr Paul Findlay, Stroke Consultant for NHS Highland, said: “With over 13,000 people in Scotland having a stroke every year it is essential that people can recognise a stroke when it is happening and take prompt action. Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, in partnership with NHS Highland, have been promoting the FAST message and I am very pleased that Highland pharmacies are supporting us in doing that.”
Dr Findlay continued: “The cards are very handy and can easily be slipped into a purse or wallet. It’s a simple, easy to remember message but its importance cannot be underestimated. People with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or those on blood thinners like warfarin are at a higher risk of having a stroke and our aim is when they come in to pick up their prescription that they are encouraged to take a card so they have the information readily available on what they should be looking for.”
To spot the signs of a stroke, just remember the word FAST –
F stands for FACE. Can the person smile normally? Does their mouth droop?
A is for ARM. Can they lift both arms normally?
S is for SPEECH. Can they speak clearly?
T is for TIME. Time to call 999 if any of these signs are present.
Dr Findlay explained that time is crucial and emphasised the importance of knowing what to look for and what to do if you thought you or someone near you was having a stroke.
He said: “While there are people who will be at greater risk a stroke can happen to anyone and it happens fast. By learning and using the FAST test you know what to look for and know that if you do
and know that if you do see those signs it is time to call 999.”