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Stroke symptoms? Time to act F.A.S.T.

A leading Cheshire doctor has reassured patients with signs of a stroke and their families that emergency care is still there for them, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Andy McAlavey, an Associate Clinical Director at NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said social distancing and the hard work of staff in the health and care sector has prevented the NHS being overwhelmed by Covid-19.

This means emergency care departments continue to offer world-class treatment to people who suffer a stroke.

Dr McAlavey stressed that it is vital for the person or a family member to dial 999 immediately if they were experiencing the symptoms of a stroke and urged people to use the FAST test:

  • Face - is the face drooping or has it fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms - can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech - is it slurred?
  • Time to call 999 if you see any of the above signs.

“The sooner you call 999, the sooner that life-saving care can start,” said Dr McAlavey.

“Prompt treatment is crucial, which is why national guidelines call for treatment to start within 60 minutes of arrival at hospital.

“The prospects of a rapid and complete recovery are greatly increased when treatment starts early.”

Stroke survivors seeking advice on self-care during the coronavirus pandemic should call the Stroke Association helpline on 0303 3033 100 or visit