“An absolute game changer” for stroke patients in rural and regional NSW

“An absolute game changer” for stroke patients in rural and regional NSW

More than 3,000 stroke patients in rural and regional NSW have received life-changing treatment thanks to the $21.7 million NSW Telestroke Service.

National Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said the lifesaving service, now fully rolled out across the state, was of critical importance to hospitals across rural and regional NSW.

“Each year around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke, and more than a third of those admitted to hospital are from regional and rural areas,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Innovative models of care such as Telestroke have transformed healthcare in rural and regional NSW, allowing patients to be treated in their communities faster than ever before.

“Telestroke has been an absolute game changer with, in most cases, patients being seen and treated faster in our regional hospitals than they would be in metro areas. This service leads the way.”

The NSW Telestroke Service now saves lives at 23 rural and regional hospitals by bringing expert medical care faster to people suffering strokes.

This innovative service provides rapid 24/7 access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment, connecting patients and local doctors with a network of specialist stroke doctors via video consultation, operated by Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital.

When someone has a stroke, it is absolutely essential that they receive medical treatment as soon as possible, which is exactly what the NSW Telestroke Service delivers, no matter where you live in the state.

The 23 participating hospitals are located in: Tweed, Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Moree, Armidale, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Manning, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Orange, Bathurst, Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Cooma, Shoalhaven, Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Deniliquin, Moruya and Bega (South Eastern Regional Hospital).

One of the 3,000 patients who are grateful for Telestroke is Brian Whelan from Wollongbar in the Northern Rivers District of NSW.

The 79-year-old was rushed to Lismore Base Hospital when he suffered a stroke in June last year. At the emergency department, doctors assessed Brian and connected him with the NSW Telestroke Service stroke on-call specialist neurologist, who was based in Gosford.

Thanks to the expertise of the NSW Telestroke Service, the team were able to successfully treat the clot in Brian’s brain.

Brian said the dedicated hospital staff saved his life.

“My wife says if I hadn’t gotten the treatment I got, I would have ended up in a nursing home. Or not here at all.”

Today, Brian is playing golf again and enjoying time with his family.

Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director of the NSW Telestroke Service and Director of Clinical Neuroscience, Prince of Wales Hospital, said the service helps eliminate geographical challenges in the fight against stroke, which is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability is.

“Using Telestroke, our clinicians can deliver better outcomes for patients showing signs of stroke by harnessing this cutting-edge technology – regardless of location,” Professor Butcher said.

The $21.7 million NSW Telestroke Service is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth governments.

Implementation of the NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between the Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Ministry of Health, with support from the Stroke Foundation.

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