Stroke Foundation is urging the next Western Australia state government to invest in a stroke unit at Bunbury Regional Hospital to save lives and improve outcomes from stroke.
A dedicated stroke unit at the new hospital is one of three key actions in Stroke Foundation’s Western Australia Election Platform Step up for stroke. These actions would strengthen the state’s treatment, care and prevention measures, by building on the recent expansion of the WA Telestroke Service and targeted community education.
Stroke Foundation Western Australia State Manager Luke Hays said stroke strikes the brain and can change lives in an instant.
“More than 2700 Western Australians will experience a stroke for the first time this year, many of these strokes will be experienced by residents in the state’s South West,” Mr Hays said.
“Each year Bunbury Regional Hospital admits more than 100 stroke patients, yet the hospital does not currently have the specialist focus and expertise to deliver the stroke treatment and care we know improves outcomes.
“A local stroke unit makes sense, it would reduce unnecessary transfers, speed up treatment and improve care, ensuring our health system is more efficient and sustainable.”
Busselton resident Rodney Oates had a stroke in 2016. Following the stroke, Rodney was taken to Bunbury Regional Hospital. The local hospital did not have the facilities or expertise to diagnose and treat his stroke. Rodney was then transferred to Perth. It was two days before Rodney’s stroke was finally diagnosed.
Time is critical when treating stroke. When a stroke strikes it kills up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute, but treatments can stop this damage.
Rodney said I had to relearn to walk and talk, and despite intensive rehabilitation I have not regained the use of my right arm.
“As a result, I’m no longer able to work and we had to make the heart-breaking decision to sell our farm and move to Busselton to focus on my rehab.
“People living in the South West, like me, shouldn’t miss out on the highest quality stroke treatment just because of where they live.”
Stroke Foundation’s Western Australia Election Platform Step up for stroke proposed these key actions to help Western Australians avoid, survive and thrive after stroke:
Continue and expand the successful F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, and Time) Community Education Program supporting the WA Telestroke Service.
StrokeLink – Using data and expertise to drive better health care for all Western Australians.
Stroke unit at Bunbury Regional Hospital.
Mr Hays applauded the rapid response from the current Western Australian Government to addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and encouraged the lessons from this experience to be applied to chronic disease more broadly.
“Decisive action in preventing the spread of the virus demonstrates the value in prevention, early detection and intervention. These strategies can and should be applied to other health issues,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to take the next step forward. All Western Australians deserve an equitable opportunity to survive and live well after stroke”.
Image: Survivor of stroke Rodney Oates and his wife Kelly support the push for a stroke unit at Bunbury hospital.