Victoria needs to think FAST

Stroke Foundation has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $5.5 billion budget boost to health services, in particular its focus on emergency response and improving health infrastructure where it was needed most.

Stroke Foundation Victoria State Manager Jodi Briggs said it was encouraging to see the Government furthering its commitment to delivering a hospital system Victorians can rely on close to home.

Ms Briggs said the challenge now was to ensure all Victorians know to dial triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke to benefit from our emergency response system and hospitals.

“Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre and it can change lives in an instant,” Ms Briggs said.

“Around 1.9 million brain cells a minute can be destroyed by a stroke, but this damage can be stopped with the right treatment at the right time.

“Not enough Victorians are accessing these treatments because they are not aware of the signs of stroke and the need to urgently call an ambulance,” she said.

Currently, just 36 percent of Victorian stroke patients arrive at hospital within the 4.5 hour time window to benefit from time-critical blood clot dissolving treatments.

Ms Briggs said the state was home to some of the world’s pre-eminent minds in stroke and leading the way with innovative new stroke treatments, including the Stroke Ambulance and state-wide Victorian Stroke Telemedicine service.

“The best stroke specialists in the world and most cutting-edge treatments mean nothing if people don’t access them,” Ms Briggs said.”

It’s estimated there will be more than 14,000 strokes in Victoria this year and the incidence continues to rise as our population grows and ages and lifestyles become more sedentary.

Stroke Foundation is calling on the Government to build on this year’s budget investment in health with a targeted F.A.S.T. community education campaign to ensure people seek treatment for stroke quickly to improve outcomes.

The F.A.S.T test involves asking these questions:

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.

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