More than 4,000 people have been saved from stroke-related long-term disability as a directly results of the Act FAST campaign, Public Health England said today, but also stressed that faster treatment could save thousands of strokes a year.

Since the campaign was launched in 2009, an additional 38,600 stroke patients reached hospital within the crucial three-hour window and received the immediate medical treatment required for best chance of recovery.

But re-launching the annual campaign, PHE said less than half of patients experiecning symptoms of a mini stroke (transient ischaemic attack) will call for an ambulance, despite the fact that, without immediate treatment, 20% will go on to have a full stroke within a few days.

“Around 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were treated in time. That’s why the Act FAST campaign encourages people experiencing stroke-like symptoms to call 999,” said Professor Julia Verne at PHE.

This year’s campaign - which is also targeting African and Caribbean and South Asian communities because of their higher risk of stroke - is due to run until March 1.