The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:

  • Face – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you're saying to them.
  • Time – it's time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

If a patient being brought in by the ambulance crew is showing these symptoms the stroke team and nurses will be alerted and ready to meet the patient on arrival.

A radiographer will also be alerted so that a brain scan is done as soon and as quickly as possible.

Thrombolysis, the clot busting drug, is available for some patients provided they present within four and a half hours of the onset of the stroke and that they meet certain criteria.

Patients will have one-to-one nursing for the first 24 hours and the brain scan will be repeated in that time if they have been given the clot busting drug. A swallow test assessment will also be carried out immediately by the stroke nurse, and if there is a swallowing abnormality, the patient will be referred to the speech and language therapists.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists will assess the patient on the ward.

"My wife was admitted to A & E just before midnight with what appeared to be a TIA but, as it transpired, was a minor stroke. From speed of arrival of the ambulance to speed of admission and early treatment, we could not have asked for better. Follow up with the Consultant was also a good experience and we left East Surrey with very warm and grateful feelings towards all the staff."

Our stroke clinic is held once a week on Wednesday mornings for new stroke patients and follow-ups. Referrals come from GPs and other consultants within our Trust.

GPs can fax a referral letter to Dr Youssif Abousleiman direct on 01737 231663.

Together with Ashford and St Peters Hospitals, Frimley Park Hospital, Royal Surrey Hospital and Epsom and St Helier Hospital we provide a telemedicine service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A telecart projects the image of the patient and their brain scan to a laptop monitored by any one of the nine consultants within the trusts’ network, any time, day or night, on a rota basis.

The consultant can see the patient and their scans, supervise the examination and speak to the patient and relatives.