On 16 March 2021, the NSW Telestroke Service celebrates its first anniversary with more than 500 patients treated since the service’s statewide roll out began.
Telestroke gives rural and regional patients access to high-quality specialist clinical care across our vast state.
Hosted by Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, it connects stroke specialists with local emergency physicians to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
The service is available at seven sites in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Orange, Dubbo, Bathurst and Shoalhaven and will roll out to up to 23 sites by June 2022.
More than 500 rural and regional patients have already benefited from rapid stroke assessment, treatment and management via the service. One of those patients is Melinda Laverick, a schoolteacher in Coffs Harbour who had a stroke last year. Melinda recently shared her story with Seven News.
Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director of the NSW Telestroke Service and Director Clinical Neuroscience, Prince of Wales Hospital, said the service bridges more than just geographical distances in the fight against stroke which is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.
“The state-wide launch of Telestroke in March 2020 coincided with the outbreak of COVID- 19, which demonstrated how well this model of care can work during COVID-19 and beyond,” he said.
Every year around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke and more than a third live in regional, remote or rural areas.
”Using Telestroke, our clinicians can deliver better outcomes for patients exhibiting signs of stroke by harnessing this cutting-edge technology – irrespective of location.”
Implementation of the NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between the Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the NSW Ministry of Health. Implementation is supported by the Stroke Foundation. The service is a $21.7 million NSW Government election commitment announced in March 2019 and is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.