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Government assesses stroke campaign

The government wants to revolutionise stroke services, junior health minister Ann Keen has told MPs.

Ms Keen said that the National Stroke Strategy, launched 18 months ago, had already delivered vital improvements in treating stroke patients.

A total of 110,000 people in England suffer from a stroke every year.

The "Act FAST" television advertising campaign had saved many lives after being watched by around 92% of the population, she said.

Launched in February, the national campaign alerts viewers to the symptoms of "face, arms and speech" before appealing: "Time to call 999 if a person shows any of these signs."

Opening a debate on stroke services, Ms Keen, a former nurse, said: "The effectiveness of the campaign is now being assessed - but we already know it has been seen in one region or another by some 92% of the population.

"Although we can never really measure the achievements of such a campaign, it is more likely that outcomes have already been improved for many people and possibly of course their lives saved."

As well as the additional funding to all NHS primary care trusts, the government is providing £105m from 2008 to 2011 to support the implementation of the stroke strategy.

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Department of Health