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Health advice

  • Public health


Stroke is the third single largest cause of death in the UK. Act FAST is an initiative by the Stroke Association and Public Health England to raise awareness of the symptoms of a stroke, and ensure that people know what to do if they recognise any of them in themselves or someone else.

FAST is a simple test to help identify and remember the symptoms of a stroke.

Face - has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?

Arms - can they raise both arms and keep them there?

Speech - is their speech slurred?

Time to call 999 if you notice any of these symptoms.

Other stroke symptoms include:

  • Sudden visual loss or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms.

Call 999 if you notice any one of these symptoms, even if you are unsure. The quicker the person receives medical attention, the better their chance of survival.

Anyone can have a stroke but the following factors increase risk:

  • Age - this is the most important. Risk doubles for every decade after age 55.
  • High blood pressure 
  • Raised cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation - an irregular heart beat that increases the risk of forming blood clots in the heart which can travel to the brain.

For more information on stroke and how you can reduce your risk visit the Stroke Association website.



Self-care describes a person’s responsibility for actions that support them to live a healthy life, e.g. taking regular exercise and treating minor illness with over the counter medication.

Below are a number of online resources that can support you to self-care:

  • NHS Choices - contains a wealth of information on specific conditions and useful tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle

  • NHS Go - a website and mobile app designed to help young people take greater control over their health. It has specifically been designed with and for young people, providing easily accessible information on health and wellbeing

  • The Self-Care Forum - has produced excellent fact sheets on a number of conditions that can be supported managed through self-care. These can be helpful for patients to use in discussion with their GP.

  • ESC Student app - a mobile app which provides students with rapid access to health information, even if they don't have an internet connection. It has been developed by students and healthcare professionals, and covers more than 100 important health topics including general ill health, mental health and emergencies. 

  • Health apps library - a collection of apps that you can download and use to help manage your own health. All the apps have been reviewed by the NHS and rated by people who use them

  • Physical activity guidelines - a summary of the recommended levels of exercise for adults, and the benefits of physical activity. Check out Fit and Active Barnet for fun, local opportunities to increase your physical activity.

We've produced some factsheets with tips on self-care for professionals and members of the public.


Pharmacies can provide advice on managing minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as provide information and support on leading a healthy lifestyle.

The pharmacy section of NHS Choices has more information about the services pharmacies offer.

NHS 111

NHS 111 is a free, non-emergency number for people in need of urgent medical advice or help. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call if:

  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next
  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service

After being assessed, you will be given health advice or signposted to the most appropriate service. If it is an emergency, an ambulance will be dispatched immediately.


Barndoc is an out of hours service for patients with urgent health needs who need to see a GP before their practice is next open. It can be accessed by calling 111. The service is open as follows:

  • 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays
  • Friday, 6.30pm to Monday, 8am   
  • Bank holidays

Patients transferred to Barndoc can expect a telephone call back from a GP or nurse within the hour. They will provide the following services as appropriate:

  • Self-care advice
  • Face-to-face consultation with a GP or nurse at the most convenient location (Edgware Community Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital or The Laurels Healthy Living Centre)
  • Home visit

In an emergency, call 999.

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