Cutting-Edge Stroke Ambulance Saving Lives

More Victorian stroke patients are surviving and returning home thanks to Australia’s first ever dedicated stroke ambulance.

Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy today joined the paramedics, stroke nurses and radiographers that operate the cutting-edge ambulance, which can assess patients on the spot to speed up treatment and save lives.

The specially equipped ambulance has been dispatched an average of six times a day, treating 288 patients in total since it hit the road six months ago. It has provided 143 scans to patients while on the road.

The purpose-built, 5.3 tonne ambulance has an on-board CT scanner capable of imaging the patient’s brain on the spot and detecting the type of stroke they are experiencing, so that treatment can begin straight away – rather than at hospital.

The Andrews Labor Government has provided $7.5 million for the trial of the state-of-the-art ambulance.

The ambulance crew features a stroke nurse, radiographer and highly-trained paramedics who are able to start treatments such as clot-busting thrombolysis on scene. Some 27 patients have received clot busting thrombolysis, while 20 were transported for endovascular clot removal.

When a person experiences a stroke, time is critical and every second counts. Under the Labor Government, 94.2 per cent of stroke patients are being transported to a hospital stroke unit within an hour, compared with 84.9 per cent under the former Liberal Government.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Australia, and causes more deaths than breast cancer in women and prostate cancer among men.

About one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime and in 2014, nearly 3,000 Victorians died from a stroke. Victorian hospitals treat more than 14,000 people for stroke and related conditions each year.

The trial is part of research being led by the Royal Melbourne Hospital with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the University of Melbourne and Ambulance Victoria.

Generous donations by Melbourne leading business figures and the Stroke Foundation have helped fund the trial.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy

“It’s six months since the Australian-first stroke unit hit the road and the data shows it’s having a big impact on survival and recovery rates.”

“Time is critical when someone has a stroke – and every second counts. The stroke ambulance means specialist treatment and assessment can begin on the road, straight away.”