An incredible 20,000 patients have received lifesaving stroke care over the past decade thanks to the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine (VST) service, which has recently expanded to two new locations.
Run by Ambulance Victoria (AV) and now operating across 20 regional hospitals throughout Victoria and Tasmania, VST allows clinicians to collaborate across organisational boundaries and provide time-critical care locally.
AV’s metropolitan acting regional director Dale Armstrong said the service at Werribee plays a vital role in stroke treatment, with about 200 consultations conducted between July 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023.
“Many hospitals do not have a stroke specialist on site or lack around-the-clock access to this type of expertise, making VST a game-changer in the emergency care of patients,” he said.
AV’s director of stroke services Professor Chris Bladin said every minute matters when suffering a stroke, which is why VST is crucial.
“The world-class service connects patients with expert doctors who provide diagnosis and treatment, enabling them to receive the right care at the right time regardless of their location,” Professor Bladin said.
“With stroke telemedicine, patients are receiving clot-busting drugs an average of 40 minutes earlier and often within an hour of arriving at hospital.”
Retired Melbourne resident Marina Dunn was enjoying a holiday in Tasmania when she experienced stroke symptoms on Good Friday earlier this year, which prompted her partner to take her to Launceston General Hospital.
Ms Dunn was immediately admitted to emergency where she underwent a VST consultation.
“I was amazed at the speed in which everything happened. They did it all there – they were fantastic,” she said.
Ms Dunn said she highly recommended the VST service as it allowed her to be moved to a general ward by the afternoon.
“I don’t know if all hospitals treat their patients with a stroke like that, but they acted quickly. I couldn’t have had any better care.”
VST operates in 18 regional Victorian hospitals and two sites in northern Tasmania.
VST is one of a range of health services Ambulance Victoria provides to the community as part of its ongoing commitment to world class research and best care for patients across the state.
Know the signs of stroke:
– Face: Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
– Arms: Can they lift both arms?
– Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time Is critical. If you see any of these signs call triple-0 straight away.