It’s the fourth biggest killer in the UK and the single biggest cause of complex adult disability. And stroke comes at a huge price - it costs our society around £9 billion.

Around 80 per cent of strokes are preventable. One of the most potent risk factors for stroke is atrial fibrillation (AF) - an irregular heartbeat. Not only does AF increase the likelihood of having a stroke, AF-related strokes are often more severe than other types of stroke and cause more deaths and greater disability. There are around 1.4 million people living with AF in England, yet over a third of them are undiagnosed. We need a step change in the way AF is diagnosed to save the NHS money, and prevent many thousands of people living with the disabling effects of stroke.

The good news is more people are surviving stroke than ever before. The Act FAST campaign has helped people recognise the warning signs of a stroke and how to act.

But sadly, for the 1.2 million stroke survivors across the UK, too many have to wait weeks – in some cases, months – for the support they need for their recovery. The current National Stroke Strategy for England comes to an end in 2017 and the Government has no plans to renew it. That’s why we’ve launched our latest campaign, A New Era for Stroke, calling on a renewed national focus on stroke from the Government.

There’s no doubt that stroke devastates people’s lives. But with the right care and support, the condition can be prevented, and stroke survivors are able to rebuild their lives. If we rise to the challenge, together we can conquer stroke.