Fears have been raised that thousands of people across the UK could be at risk of severe disability, or even death, by failing to get treated for strokes during the current Covid-19 crisis.

These concerns have reduced in Wigan, when NHS statistics revealed that the number of people attending Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department and Leigh Walk-In Centre (which are run by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust), actually slightly increased in March.

However, this bucked the trend nationally, where UK A&E admissions for March reached record low levels.

To help keep us on the right track, Think Ahead Stroke has produced a short animated video to remind everyone that despite Covid-19, some people will continue to experience stroke each day.

Around 1,000 will have a stroke in Wigan every year, or around three a day: that’s three today, three tomorrow and three the day after.

Think Ahead Stroke’s Executive Manager Carol Sankey explains: “We’ve been worried that people may not be urgently responding to strokes or TIA’s (mini-strokes), in the current crisis, and not seeking the vital medical treatment they need to recover.

“As this horrible virus reaches its reported peak later in April, people may be scared of contracting it at hospital, or even being a further burden on the NHS. But they really must go get help.

“Stroke is always a medical emergency, so if someone is experiencing a stroke, regardless of other factors, they must call 999 immediately! And, remember to use the F.A.S.T method to identify a stroke.

“If you think you may have experienced a TIA, on the other hand, then make an appointment with your GP as quickly as possible (even if you feel better), so they can assess your health and likelihood of you having a more serious episode.”

Carol concludes: “Think Ahead Stroke is also available on 01942 824 888 if anyone needs our advice, and if you’d like to share our animation via social media then it’s available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6FsWnjqfE0