BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
BETTER CARE FOR STROKE VICTIMS UNDER LABOR
Australians living in regional Australia will get 24/7 access to the country’s best stroke specialists under a Shorten Labor Government plan that will rollout state-of-the-art technology to save lives.
Every year, 56,000 Australians have a stroke – one every nine minutes.
People in regional and rural areas are almost 20 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke.
People in regional and rural Australia are also more likely to die or be left with serious disability from a stroke because most stroke specialists and units are in the cities, denying country Australians access to life-saving treatments to dissolve and remove clots.
Labor will invest $11.9 million to bridge this deadly gap by building a National Telestroke Network.
This network will link 41 regional and rural emergency departments to a roster of metropolitan stroke specialists via cutting edge telehealth technology.
These specialists will provide around-the-clock support to local clinicians by examining patients, reviewing CT brain imaging and providing diagnosis and treatment advice.
This will speed up access to thrombolysis – clot-dissolving medicine that will be available in all 41 hospitals and must be administered within 4.5 hours.
This is a policy that will save and improve lives. It is part of Labor’s commitment to improving the health of the seven million Australians who live outside metropolitan areas.
Health outcomes shouldn’t be determined by your postcode – but all too often they are.
People in country Australia have a lower life expectancy – 3.4 years lower for men and 2 years lower for women. As well as strokes, they are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eye disease and lung cancer. They are less likely to see a doctor, specialist or dentist when they need to, or to have private health insurance.
The National Telestroke Network will connect to and build upon Victoria’s Stroke Telemedicine program, which has already linked 17 regional and rural hospitals to metropolitan specialists.
Other states have started trialling similar models of care but federal funding is needed to maintain and expand these pilot programs.
Labor’s investment will also include $3 million for the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry to ensure the network’s stroke data is captured and used, and $600,000 for ‘FAST’ – Face, Arms, Speech, Time – community education programs.
The National Telestroke Network proposal was developed by the Stroke Foundation and has been endorsed by the Australian Stroke Coalition, which includes more than 20 stakeholder groups.
It will be funded through Labor’s $2.8 Better Hospitals Fund.
The Liberals have cut billions of dollars from public hospitals. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut funding from health while trying to give a $80 billion tax handout to big business, including $17 billion to the big banks.
The Australian people are sick of the cuts. They want investment in their hospitals.
Labor will reverse the Liberals cuts with the Better Hospitals Fund by restoring core funding, building new wards and facilities, and reducing elective surgery and emergency department wait times.
Access to health should be determined by your Medicare card, not your credit card. Only Bill Shorten and Labor will fight for every Australian to have access to the quality care they need and deserve.
TUESDAY, 19 MARCH 2019