29 Apr 2020
Dr Mike Ejuoneatse, a local St Helens GP and CCG Governing Body member, is urging people to not put off seeking medical help if they show signs of a stroke or TIA/mini stroke (transient ischemic attack) during the Covid-19 crisis amid concerns that attendance at GP surgeries and urgent care services are significantly less than normal
Concerns are mounting that people who have a stroke or TIA/mini stroke are not calling 999 during the Covid-19 pandemic amid fears that thousands of people could be at risk of disability or even stroke-related death if they don’t act FAST on stroke symptoms.
Dr Ejuoneatse said “Compared to the same period last year, my surgery has seen around a 25% reduction in the number of people who are coming in with complaints that could indicate a TIA/mini stroke.
“Stroke is a medical emergency and it’s essential that you call 999 straight away if you suspect you or someone around you is having a stroke. Our hospitals are equipped and ready to treat stroke patients. While we continue to ask people to stay at home and stay safe from coronavirus, please don’t ignore symptoms of other serious conditions.
You can spot the symptoms of a stroke by using the FAST test:
- Face – is the face drooping/ 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 NHS across Cheshire and Merseyside is also reminding people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus that they can continue to use their local services and seek emergency and urgent care straight away when they need it.
This is in response to a sharp drop in the number of referrals for treatment and investigations for conditions like cancer, which may result in patients being diagnosed later, decreasing their chances of survival and placing extra unnecessary strain on the NHS.
General practice, dentists, pharmacies, NHS 111 and accident and emergency departments in the area are operating for those who need them, and extra measures have been put in place to ensure that those attending medical settings are not put at risk of contracting the disease.
For more information on stroke and what to do, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stroke/