Stroke is a devastating condition
and is the third leading cause of death and the single largest
cause of disability in England. It causes around 67,000
deaths in the UK per year, with someone suffering from a stroke
every 5 minutes.
Facing this challenge head on, SECAmb was
the first ambulance service to appoint a paramedic stroke lead and
it has spearheaded a life-saving stroke development programme
across Sussex, Surrey and Kent which the Stroke Association has
praised as a ‘beacon’ of good practice.
Did you know?
- Every five minutes someone in the UK has a
- Of the 150,000 people each year who have a
stroke 50,000 will die
- Stroke is the third biggest killer and the
single greatest cause of disability in the UK
- Immediate and long-term care for patients who
have had a stroke costs the NHS £2.8bn each year
- High blood pressure is the single biggest risk
factor for experiencing a stroke
High blood pressure is a silent condition and on
average only 20% of men and 30% of women with high blood pressure
know they have it. By checking for high blood pressure we can
identify those most at risk and potentially prevent a stroke from
So we decided to take a tour of Kent, Surrey and Sussex offering
free blood pressure checks to the public in the hope of imrpoving
the awareness of the serious nature of this condition. Since the
launch of this campaign we have tested thousands of people with at
times alarming results. On average we have referred around 25% of
everyone we tested to their GP because they had raised
blood pressure and taken 2% straight to hospital with a dangerously
high BP. We also managed to pick up on the odd irregular heartbeat
and diabetes risk along the way.
We wanted to get the message out to as many people as possible
and so alongside the blood pressure testing we also wrapped six of
our ambulances in stroke posters and placed them in areas where the
risk of stroke was particularly high. This was the first time an
ambulance had been used to promote a health message and the
feedback from the public has been extremely positive.
The campaign was a huge success and we recently joined up with
the Stroke Association to run a nationwide campaign with all of the
other ambulance trusts and the rotary clubs and tested BPs up and
down the country. We are still testing blood pressures at most of
the events we attend and we're always happy to come and talk to
groups of people who may be at risk.
To find out more about stroke visit the Stroke Association website for
helpful advice and information.