It's time to take action

September 26, 2022

Survivors of stroke and advocates will meet with their local Victorian election candidates this week calling for them to take action and make a long-term commitment to invest in stroke awareness and recovery support.

As part of Stroke Foundation’s ‘Week of Action,’ which starts today, the army of passionate Victorians will present the Stroke Foundation’s platform for change ahead of the November state election in the hope of securing a pre-election commitment for the first time in years.

It has been a decade since a Victorian government has allocated any money in its budget to support Stroke Foundation programs to prevent, treat and beat stroke. In 2021, 75 per cent of Stroke Foundation’s income came from donations and bequests, mostly from survivors and their families.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sharon McGowan, says it is time for that to change.

“We have a wonderful community that, for so long, has done the heavy lifting when it comes to supporting Stroke Foundation and the important work we do. It’s time that the next state government shares the load and invests in initiatives to increase awareness of stroke and provide support to enable survivors to recover well across Victoria.”

This election, Stroke Foundation is calling on all candidates to commit to two programs that will change the state of stroke in Victoria for generations to come. Stroke Foundation is calling for investment in has two evidence-based, focused programs that we know will deliver results.

The first is an investment of $10m over 10 years for Stroke Foundation’s F.A.S.T. signs of stroke education program. This includes rolling out the life-saving F.A.S.T. message on TV, radio and publications across Victoria, reaching all corners of the state to ensure that Victorians in every home and workplace know the F.A.S.T. message.

Stroke is a medical emergency and without fast action, people die or face lifelong disability. Stroke Foundation’s recent 2022 annual F.A.S.T. awareness survey found that a staggering 39 per cent of Melburnians and 31 per cent of regional Victorians would not recognise any of the most common signs of stroke.

The second election ask is for $3m over 10 Years for StrokeConnect Navigator Program. This program brings together Stroke Foundation’s existing StrokeLine service and a new post-hospital outreach service, to cohesively improve post-stroke support.

In Victoria, 26 per cent of people who have a stroke currently leave hospital without a discharge plan, leaving them to find their own way through their recovery. This gap means their recovery takes longer, and puts them at high risk of more strokes, and an ongoing reliance on Victoria’s already stretched health and disability support services.

Stroke Foundation CEO, Sharon McGowan, says the time is now to commit to funding these projects and introduce a new legacy of care for future Victorians. She says she is humbled by willingness of everyday Victorians to share Stroke Foundation’s message with political candidates this week.

“Investing in Stroke Foundation’s work now will create that legacy in stroke prevention, treatment, and recovery, unlike that ever seen before in Victoria. It will maximise the significant investment the State Government has already made in delivering world-class acute stroke treatment.”

“That has taken a lot of work and many previous Victorian governments can be proud of that. But we now need critical new investment in education so more people will recognise stroke when it happens, will act fast and access that hospital care. And at the other end of the stroke journey, we need to introduce a safety net so when they leave hospital, they have the very best chance at recovery.”