Local medical charity NI Chest Heart & 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.
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.