Stroke patients in the Clarence Valley will now have 24-hour access to an innovative telehealth 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 by connecting local doctors to specialist stroke physicians via video consultation.
Every minute counts
“This crucial service will provide Clarence Valley residents with rapid diagnosis and treatment from the state’s expert clinicians,” Clarence Health Service Director of Emergency, Dr Will Davies, said.
“Telestroke helps local doctors to decide the most appropriate treatment option for each patient which may include urgent treatment at their hospital to dissolve a clot or urgent transfer to a specialised stroke centre for more complex treatment.”
The new Telestroke service at Grafton Base Hospital means patients will benefit from specialist stroke assessments closer to home, reducing the time between the onset of a stroke and a potentially life-saving intervention.
“Stroke is a time critical medical emergency that can kill up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute,” Dr Davies said.
“Every minute counts, so the faster we can provide specialist advice and interventions, the better patient outcomes will be.”
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.
Service to expand further across NSW
The NSW Telestroke Service is managed by Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital and implementation of the service is a collaboration between the hospital, eHealth NSW, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the Ministry of Health. Implementation is supported by the Stroke Foundation.
The service leverages eHealth NSW’s statewide technology platforms including Skype for Business, statewide Wi-Fi, Health Wide Area Network (HWAN) and the Enterprise Imaging Repository (EIR).
The NSW Telestroke Service has already helped more than 700 patients in NSW since its launch in March 2020 and will expand to up to 23 sites across NSW by June 2022. In Northern NSW, the Service is currently available at Lismore, Grafton and Tweed Hospitals.
The service is a $21.7 million NSW Government election commitment and is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.
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