Manning Telestroke service to benefit Lower Mid North Coast patients

September 29, 2021
Stroke patients from across Lower Mid North Coast (LMNC) NSW will now have 24-hour access to an innovative new telehealth service as part of a $21.7 million initiative being rolled out across the state.

The NSW Telestroke Service, now available at Manning Base Hospital, offers people living in regional and rural areas increased access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment, by connecting local emergency doctors to specialist stroke physicians via a secure video link.

Paul Townsend, Director of Nursing and Midwifery LMNC, Manning Base Hospital said the transition to this state-wide initiative will assist hospital clinicians to care for patients with acute neurological symptoms.

“This crucial service will provide stroke patients with rapid diagnosis and treatment from the state’s expert clinicians, any time of the night or day,” Mr Townsend said.

“Telestroke helps our local emergency and intensive care doctors to decide the most appropriate treatment option for each patient. These options include urgent treatment to dissolve a clot with ‘clot-busting’ thrombolysis here at Manning Base Hospital, or urgently transferring the patient to a specialised stroke centre for more complex treatment.”

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.

Rebecca Polak, Telestroke Project Officer, Manning Base Hospital said during 2020, the hospital treated 186 people experiencing stroke and 61 Transient Ischemic Attacks, or small strokes which last a short time before resolving without treatment.

“Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency that can kill up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute,” Ms Polak said.

“It’s 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. FAST 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, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the NSW Ministry of Health. The service has helped more than 1000 patients in NSW since its launch in March 2020 and 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