Stroke Ambulance slashes treatment times

November 18, 2019
Australia’s only Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) or Stroke Ambulance has slashed treatment times, improving outcomes for stroke patients in Melbourne. 

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos marked the second anniversary of the Stroke Ambulance research project at the Royal Melbourne Hospital today. Minister Mikakos announced the Stroke Ambulance was treating patients 61 minutes faster than average hospital treatment times nationally.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said Stroke Foundation was proud to be a partner in the Stroke Ambulance research project.

“It is the first Stroke Ambulance in Australia and its results are paving the way for improvements in stroke treatment nationally and internationally,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“When a stroke strikes, around 1.9 million brains cells die each minute, but timely medical treatment can stop this damage. 

“Time saved in diagnosing and treating stroke is brain saved.”

The Stroke Ambulance is a purpose-built vehicle staffed by a neurologist, nurse, radiographer and two paramedics. It has a brain scanner on board, allowing diagnosis of stroke and treatment to begin in the field rather than waiting until the patient has arrived at hospital. 

Ms McGowan said it was Stroke Foundation’s hope to see a fleet of Stroke Ambulances rolled out across the country.

“The data shows Stroke Ambulances improve outcomes, but perhaps the most powerful evidence of its impact is the people behind the numbers,’’ Ms McGowan said. 

“I have had the pleasure of speaking to a number of stroke ambulance patients and their loved ones who have praised the Stroke Ambulance staff for saving their lives and allowing them to make an incredible recovery.”

The Stroke Ambulance MSU has been delivered by the Victorian Government in partnership with the Stroke Foundation, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Ambulance Victoria, the University of Melbourne, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and the RMH Neuroscience Foundation. It has also been endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

There will be more 56,000 strokes in Australia this year, including more than 14,000 in Victoria.