Building a better NSW for people with stroke

June 24, 2019
Stroke Foundation is excited to partner with the New South Wales (NSW) Governments to revolutionise emergency stroke care for people in the state’s rural and regional areas. 

Funding for the $21.7 million Centralised Stroke Telehealth Service and treatment pathway to country hospitals was confirmed in the NSW State Budget

The joint State and Federal Government three-year investment builds on a pilot project utilising telehealth technology to connect patients in regional areas to city-based neurologists for stroke diagnosis and treatment, where appropriate, currently underway on the state’s mid north coast. 

Stroke Foundation New South Wales State Manager Rhian Paton-Kelly said the state-wide service would have an enormous impact removing barriers to time-critical stroke treatment that saves lives. 
“This telehealth service is much needed in our state and will make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families,” Ms Paton-Kelly said.

“The more rapidly a patient accesses treatment after stroke, the fewer brain cells die and the better the chance of a positive outcome.”  

Currently regional Australians are 19 percent more likely to experience stroke than people in our cities. They are also more likely to die or be left with a serious disability as a result of stroke because of limited access to best-practice treatment and care - most stroke specialists are located in metropolitan areas.

The NSW Centralised Stroke Telehealth Service will harness technology to bring a neurologist to the patient remotely, speeding up diagnosis and supporting regional clinicians to administer blood clot dissolving treatment or to transfer the patient to a comprehensive stroke centre for blood clot removal.  

Ms Paton-Kelly said the investment in telehealth will ensure people in country NSW receive high-quality healthcare for stroke and are given the best opportunity to live well. 

“New South Wales is home to 12 of the country’s top 20 hot spots for stroke – with 10 located in regional areas of the state,” Ms Paton Kelly said. 

“Too many lives are currently being devastated by stroke, but it does not need to be this way.

“The mid north coast pilot has delivered promising outcomes for patients at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour Hospitals and we look forward to expanding its reach. 

“The service will also decrease the burden of stroke on the health system and economy,” she said.