Better Outcomes For Stroke Survivors

7 September 2016

New figures show encouraging progress in stroke treatment and awareness, Stroke Foundation CEO Mark Vivian says.

Mr Vivian was responding to data released by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that shows hospitals are getting better at identifying stroke patients and moving them to specialist units more quickly. The number of patients managed in a stroke unit or a stroke service increased to 74 per cent for the three months ending December 2015, compared to 66 per cent for the same period in 2014.

The number of patients who received stroke thrombylosis, which is only suitable for a small number of patients, increased to nine per cent for the three months ending December 2015 - up from six per cent for the same period in 2014.

 “It's particularly pleasing to see that hospitals are getting better at identifying stroke patients, and more patients are receiving the clot-busting thrombolysis treatment – because that can have a huge bearing on a stroke survivor’s quality of life,” Mr Vivian said.

Dr Coleman also said a tele-stroke service, aimed at helping regional hospitals assess strokes was showing encouraging progress.

Earlier this year, the Stroke Foundation, the Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health ran a nationwide FAST campaign (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty – Time to call 111) to teach people the three main symptoms of stroke, and that a stroke is a medical emergency.

"We know FAST has played a huge part in raising stroke awareness. After we ran our 2014 pilot scheme in Waikato, analysis showed a marked increase in the number of people who could identify the three main symptoms of stroke, and respond by calling 111,” Mr Vivian said.

"Since the national FAST campaign began in June, we've heard many stories of people whose lives were saved because of a FAST response.

"Stroke is now on the national radar – but there’s still a lot more work to do. We commend and thank the Government on their efforts to date and look forward to working with them in the future."

For further information contact:

Simon Bradwell, Communications and Promotions Manager

04 815 8124 / 027 506 9822 simon.bradwell@stroke.org.nz

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