CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
MEMBER FOR BASS
MEMBER FOR BRADDON
BETTER CARE FOR TASMANIAN STROKE VICTIMS UNDER LABOR
Residents of Northern and North West Tasmania will get 24/7 access to the country’s best stroke specialists under a Labor plan that will save lives by rolling out state-of-the-art telehealth technology to regional hospitals across Australia.
Every year, 56,000 Australians have a stroke – that’s one every nine minutes.
People in regional and rural areas are almost 20 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke. They’re 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.
That’s why a Shorten Labor Government will invest $11.9 million to build 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. Launceston General Hospital and North West Regional Hospital will be among those 41 locations.
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,” said Shadow Health Minister Catherine King. “Health outcomes shouldn’t be determined by your postcode – but all too often they are.”
Labor Member for Bass, Ross Hart said: “Since 2017 Scott Morrison and the Liberals have cut $1.95 million from the Launceston General Hospital.
“That is the same as almost 3,000 Emergency Department visits. Labor will restore the funding cut by the Liberals and invest even more to reduce waiting lists. Today’s announcement forms a key part of Labor’s commitment to giving Tasmania’s patients and health workers the support they need.”
The North West and West Coasts of Tasmania has one of the highest incidences of stroke in Australia.
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 billion 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 an $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. That’s what a Shorten Labor Government will deliver.
TUESDAY, 26 MARCH 2019