Opinion

Letter to the Editor

by
May 12, 2018

Know the signs

The Stroke Foundation has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $4.2billion budget boost to health announced in the state budget on May 1, and called for increased access to emergency stroke treatment as well as improved access to health services for stroke survivors when they leave hospital.

It was encouraging to see the Victorian Government ‘getting things done’ by increasing investment in paramedics and hospitals.

It is now vital we ensure Victorians who experience stroke are accessing these services.

Victoria is home to some of Australia’s and the world’s leading minds in stroke. We have some of the best emergency stroke treatment in the country, but not enough Victorians are accessing it.

Currently, just 39 per cent of Victorian stroke patients are arriving at hospital within the 4.5-hour window for clot busting treatment — treatment we know saves lives and improves outcomes for stroke patients.

Why? Simply because not enough Victorians know how to recognise the signs of stroke and call an ambulance.

Stroke can be treated and it can be beaten, but only if patients can access the right treatment F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to recognise the signs of stroke.

Face — check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms — can they lift both arms?

Speech — is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time — time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.

The $25million Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund provides an opportunity to increase access to emergency and urgent care by ensuring someone in every Victorian household knows the signs of stroke.

It also provides an opportunity to give all Victorians a fairer future after stroke by connecting them with services and supports they need after leaving hospital.

I look forward to seeing more detail on the fund and working with Better Care Victoria to enhance access to services and improve health service quality and performance.

It’s time to ‘get things done’ to stop this killer condition devastating more Victorian families.

Stroke Foundation also welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment to improving health services in regional areas, continued commitment to the State Disability Plan and mental health initiatives.

I look forward to working with Health Minister Jill Hennessy to ensure more Victorians avoid stroke, access appropriate stroke treatment and recover.

-Sharon McGowan, chief executive officer, Stroke Foundation

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