STROKE victims in Orange and Bathurst will now have access to the best available treatment after the successful launch of the Early Access to Stroke Thrombolysis program (EAST).
The New South Wales implementation (EAST) team visited both hospitals to meet with clinicians and management about the program, which aims to improve outcomes for people suffering a stroke.
Orange and Bathurst stroke care co-ordinator Fiona Ryan told said yesterday the two centres were chosen from a large field of hospitals to offer this state-of-the-art treatment.
“It’s a statewide rollout, there were 21 centres identified as being able to be 24-7 thrombolysis centres and Bathurst and Orange were two of only four rural centres chosen,” she said.
“I think that it absolutely speaks volumes for the services that we provide and it’s good that our centres have been identified as being of a high enough standard to participate in the program.”
Ms Ryan said the thrombolysis treatment was not for everyone and relied heavily upon early detection of stroke.
“Stroke thrombolysis is the administration of a drug to dissolve the clot causing the stroke, which therefore reduces its damage and impact,” she said.
“The drug treatment has to be delivered within four- and-a-half hours of the start of symptoms. The most common symptoms are weakness on one side of the face, weakness of the arm and change in speech.”
Ms Ryan said the aim of the program was to increase the number of people receiving potentially lifesaving treatment for stroke.
“It means that people away from Orange that would have normally gone to their local hospital as a first step and then come to us, if they meet the criteria, they will be brought straight to Orange or Bathurst,” she said.
“The best part is it’s time saving. If they have to go to their own hospital, they may not reach the thrombolysis centre in time, so it’s extraditing and escalating that transport so they can get to the best care in time.”
Ms Ryan said people from outlying areas including Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, Oberon and Lithgow would all benefit.
The statewide program has been developed by the Agency of Clinical Innovation, the Ambulance Service NSW and the Ministry of Health.
The program was officially launched by NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner in January.