GP role in stroke awareness campaign

More than 50,000 strokes occur in Australia each year, and the government today announced $2 million for the national rollout of an awareness campaign that shows people how to recognise signs of stroke and that stresses the importance of responding to them fast.

The FAST campaign stands for face, arms, speech and time. Important questions include: has the person's mouth drooped, can they lift both arms and is their speech slurred? 

The campaign emphasises that time is critical if these signs are present, and to ring 000 straight away.

Professor Chris Levi, of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, said GPs have an important role to play in counselling stroke patients and those at risk of stroke about FAST.

“If someone does call their GP saying they are having a stroke, they need to be told not to come to their rooms, but to call 000,” he said. “It’s a GP bypass really.

“The time window for