22 July, 2023
Step forward for stroke treatment
MILLIONS of Queenslanders living in remote and rural areas will now having access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment, with the State Government giving $5.8 million to a virtual Telestroke service.
Telestroke provides rapid virtual care for people to access a specialist stroke diagnosis and treatment, particularly in rural and regional areas.
After several years of Queensland stroke organisations, charities and medical professionals calling on the State to implement the service, their voices have finally been heard.
Moyamoya Australia founder and Ravenshoe local Nicola Baker has been advocating for the cause for a long time now and her goal was to have the important service rolled out entirely by Christmas.
Emailing every politician in Queensland, Ms Baker went beyond the limits to ensure Telestroke was recognised in Parliament and last week, her goal was realised.
“It started over a conversation amongst our Lived Experience Advisory Panel for Childhood Stroke, and we thought we would get Telestroke in place by Christmas and here we are – Christmas in July,” she said.
“It’s just a such a good outcome and to know this service is there to help people in regional and remote Queensland as well as in the cities is invaluable. It’s going to save lives.”
For Ms Baker, this service will greatly benefit people like her son Jed, who has moyamoya disease and is at risk of stroking at any time.
“The longer it takes to get treatment, the more damage the person is at risk of having and strokes kill people so if we can save lives by having access to this service, then it’s just a gift,” she said.
“For someone like me who lives 45 minutes away from the nearest hospital, it means we can access stroke specialists and moyamoya specialist through a phone number.
“Time is crucial for someone having a stroke so the faster someone can get advice, the better.”
Responding to Ms Baker’s email, Member for Hill Shane Knuth raised this issue in Parliament a number of times and has questioned the previous and present Minister about Queensland’s need for a Telestroke service.
He described the roll out “as fantastic” and sait it will save lives.
“This is a win-win, not only for all Queenslanders but for rural and regional residents who are disadvantaged in the distances they have to travel for basic medical services,” he said.
“This roll out will save lives and help prevent long-term impairments from the effects of stroke.
“I would like to thank the Minister for Health, the Moyamoya Foundation and all those that lobbied in getting this over the line.”
Queensland Health will develop the virtual Telestroke service, which will be available for patients in 2024.