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Act F.A.S.T. relaunched to raise awareness that stroke is a medical emergency

Act FAST stroke campaign NHS poster

On 8 March 2021, Public Health England, in association with the Stroke Association, relaunched the Act F.A.S.T. stroke campaign, which highlights that a stroke is a medical emergency and urges the public to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the signs of a stroke in themselves or others.

The primary audience for the campaign is people aged 50+, as this age group are more likely to experience a stroke. The secondary audience are the ‘stroke savers’ aged 30+ who may witness somebody showing one of the stroke signs, be it a loved one or a friend.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the amount of time between someone having a stroke and arriving at hospital (and therefore receiving appropriate care including thrombolysis or thrombectomy, if appropriate) by:

  1. Raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of a stroke
  2. Raising awareness of stroke as a medical emergency
  3. Raising awareness that you should call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the signs of a stroke in themselves or others
  4. Increasing stroke patients presenting rapidly at A&E

The campaign has run for more than ten years and the F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym is effective in driving calls to 999 for stroke, saving lives and reducing disability. It also provides a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke:[1]

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs of a stroke

When Stroke Strikes Act F.A.S.T. Call 999

The campaign includes TV, Video on Demand, radio, social media, partnerships, PR and multi-cultural activity. The web page for the campaign is