People in Moree, Armidale and Tamworth are among more than 3,000 patients who experienced a stroke in rural and regional NSW and received life-changing treatment thanks to the $21.7 million NSW Telestroke Service.
Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director of the NSW Telestroke Service and Director 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.
“Using Telestroke, our clinicians can deliver better outcomes for patients exhibiting signs of stroke by harnessing this cutting-edge technology – irrespective of location,” Professor Butcher said.
Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor said the lifesaving service, now fully rolled out across the state, is critical for hospitals across rural and regional NSW.
“Every year, about 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke, and more than a third of those hospitalised are from regional and rural areas,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Innovative models of care like Telestroke have transformed healthcare in rural and regional NSW, allowing patients to be treated faster than ever before, in their communities.
“Telestroke has been an absolute game changer with, in the majority of cases, patients being seen and treated faster in our regional hospitals than they would be in metro areas. This service is leading the way.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Telestroke Service is now saving lives at 23 rural and regional hospitals by bringing expert medical care more quickly to people who suffer strokes.
“When someone has a stroke it is absolutely vital 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,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This innovative service rapidly provides 24/7 access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment, connecting patients and local doctors with a network of specialist stroke physicians via video consultation, managed by Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital.
“Already more than 3,000 people in NSW are better off for it, with many more patients to receive this life-saving treatment in the future.”
The 23 participating hospitals are located in Tweed Heads, 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 East Regional Hospital).
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.