Stroke patients in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley will now have 24-hour access to an innovative new telehealth service as part of a $21.7 million initiative being rolled out across NSW.
The NSW Telestroke Service offers people living in regional and rural areas increased access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment. It does this by connecting local doctors to specialist stroke physicians via video consultation in the Emergency Department.
“This crucial service will provide Eurobodalla and Bega Valley residents with rapid diagnosis and treatment from the state’s expert clinicians,” Meegan Connors, General Manager of Southern NSW Local Health District’s (SNSWLHD) Coastal Network, said.
“Telestroke helps Moruya Hospital and South East Regional Hospital doctors to decide the most appropriate treatment option for each patient. These options include urgent treatment to dissolve a clot locally, or urgent transfer to a specialised stroke centre for more complex treatment where appropriate.
Every year, around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke. More than a third of people hospitalised for stroke in NSW are from regional, remote or rural areas.
“Stroke is a time critical medical emergency that can kill up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute,” Ms Connors said.
“It is really important that people learn to recognise stroke symptoms and call an ambulance immediately, to give stroke sufferers the best chance of a successful outcome.”
The F.A.S.T test is an easy way to spot the signs of stroke. F.A.S.T stands for:
· Face – Has their mouth drooped?
· Arms – Can the person lift both arms?
· Speech – Is the person’s speech slurred? Do they understand you?
· Time – Is critical. If you see any of these signs call 000 straight away.
Implementation of the NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between the Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Ministry of Health.
The service has helped more than 1700 patients in NSW since its launch in March 2020. It will expand to up to 23 sites across NSW by June 2022.
The NSW Telestroke Service is a $21.7 million NSW Government election commitment announced in March 2019 and jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.
Image Credit: NSW Health