Shadow Health Minister Catherine King announce 24/7 stroke support for Bunbury

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King announces Federal Labor's commitment to creating a National Telestroke Network.
Camera IconShadow Health Minister Catherine King announces Federal Labor's commitment to creating a National Telestroke Network. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

Opposition Health Spokeswoman Catherine King visited Bunbury Hospital this week to announce Federal Labor’s commitment to creating a stroke support network.

On Tuesday, Ms King said her party would roll the National Telestroke Network out in 41 regional areas at a cost of $11.9 million.

She said the announcement was being made in Bunbury because it already had stroke facilities.

“It is not a 24/7 facility, but this commitment will see it become that,” she said

“They are already doing good work, but we want to make sure anytime anyone ends up in the emergency department here at Bunbury Hospital, or across the 41 additional sites, they get the best possible care.”

The network will link the regional and rural emergency departments to a roster of metropolitan stroke specialists using telehealth technology to provide support around the clock.

Stroke Foundation ambassador Barbara Cafagna suffered a stroke a decade ago at the age of 35 while living in Perth.

She moved to Bunbury two years ago and said the commitment was welcomed.

“I think it’s crucial to have these sorts of things in place,” he said.

“Even in metropolitan areas it can be hard enough to get the right support, diagnosis and treatment straight up.

“Having something like this is really important even to people on holidays because Bunbury is the gateway to the South West.”

She said the network would provide peace of mind.

“For me the stroke had nothing to do with anything – I wasn’t your typical stroke candidate,” she said.

“I’m OK in terms of not having a stroke again, however if my stroke had been caused by some sort of philological issue then knowing something like this is in place is amazing.”

Stroke Foundation State manager Jonine Collins said the network was something that had been needed for some time.

“This has been on our agenda for quite some time,” she said.

“We recognise that there is a huge need because residents in rural and regional communities are 19 per cent more likely to have a stroke, but sadly many don’t have access to critical therapies.

“Most of those treatments remain in our major metropolitan areas – that’s a huge issue with the vastness of WA.”

The remaining sites will be announced at a later date.

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