A Healthy Future for UK Medical Research

Monday 16 June 2014

Yesterday, the Stroke Association were invited to share how research we funded has changed lives at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research Summer Reception, entitled, "A Healthy Future for UK Medical Research".  We showcased the FAST ( Face, Arms, Speech, Time to call 999 ) research and how it transformed into the nationally recognised, Act FAST governmental campaign.

Sarah Scott, with the Rt Hon Earl Howe MP, Joanie Scott and Professor Gary Ford CBE

We heard enlightening talks from:

  • The Lord Turnberg, life peer in the House of Lords and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Medical Research
  • The Rt Hon Earl Howe MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality
  • The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science
  • Professor Sir John Took, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

The Stroke Association went prepared with our FAST team: Professor Gary Ford CBE, lead researcher on FAST; and Sarah and Joanie Scott - Sarah‘s life was saved by her classmates recognising the FAST signs, and her stroke left her with aphasia. She and mother Joanie, herself a stroke survivor, have been championing our cause ever since.

Pooling our knowledge and experience, we explained to Members of Parliament and peers just how FAST had become such a resounding success.  From the pioneering research in 2004, to the Stroke Association's original public awareness campaign, and on to the present day, where the department of health's Act FAST campaign continues to raise awareness of the main signs of stroke.

This year an emphasis was introduced to focus on the black and south asian communities in the UK who are at an increased risk of stroke when compared to their fellow Brits of european heritage.

The reception proved a great opportunity for scientists, key policy makers, industry and charities to come together to cross-fertilise ideas and form collaborations; all of us with the shared vision of strengthening the backbone of medical research in the UK to save and improve lives.

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