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Telestroke service to support Blue Mountains patients

19 May 2022

 

Stroke patients in the Blue Mountains area will now have 24-hour access to an innovative new virtual care service as part of a $21.7 million initiative being rolled out across NSW.

The NSW Telestroke Service offers people living in regional and rural areas increased access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment. It does this by connecting local doctors to specialist stroke physicians via video consultation in the Emergency Department.

“This crucial service will provide Blue Mountains residents with rapid diagnosis and treatment from the state’s expert clinicians,” said Telestroke Project Officer for Blue Mountains Hospital, Shaun Seldon.

“Telestroke helps Blue Mountains doctors to decide the most appropriate treatment option for each patient. These options include urgent treatment to dissolve a clot locally, or urgent transfer to a specialised stroke centre for more complex treatment where appropriate.”

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the addition of the NSW Telestroke Service to the Blue Mountains ANZAC District Memorial Hospital would help save lives in the region.

“Every second is critical when a person has a stroke. Since the launch of Telestroke in March 2020, 22 sites have joined the program, saving lives and reducing disability for more than 2,000 patients,” Mr Hazzard said.

Every year, around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke and more than a third of people hospitalised for stroke in NSW are from regional, remote or rural areas.

Since 2012 there has been 747 residents who reside in the Blue Mountains Local Government Area who have been hospitalised with stroke.

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

“It is also 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, Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Ministry of Health.

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.

Blue Mountains Hospital joins Lithgow Hospital and 20 other sites state-wide to deliver the live saving service.