18 October 2021

​More than 1,000 patients who experienced a stroke in NSW’s regional and rural areas have benefited from life-changing treatment thanks to the NSW Telestroke Service.

The innovative service provides 24/7 access to life-saving stroke diagnosis and treatment, connecting patients and local doctors with specialist stroke physicians via video consultation.

“Telestroke’s 1000th patient milestone exemplifies the world-class virtual care being delivered across the state,” said Dr Nigel Lyons, NSW Health Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning.

“This vital service enables time-critical diagnosis and treatment for patients in regional and rural areas,” said Dr Lyons.

Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director of the NSW Telestroke Service and Director of Clinical Neuroscience at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, said the NSW Telestroke Service is an important weapon in the fight against stroke, which is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.

“Using Telestroke, clinicians harness cutting-edge technology to deliver better outcomes for patients exhibiting signs of stroke,” said Professor Butcher.

“Multi-modal imaging allows clinicians to see where the stroke is in the brain and make better clinical decisions – irrespective of a patient’s location.”

One of the 1,000 patients thankful for Telestroke is Nina, a nurse and mother-of-three young children from Northern NSW. When Nina woke at 4.30am with her arm and leg moving uncontrollably, her husband drove her to hospital.

Upon arrival at The Tweed Hospital, emergency staff used Telestroke to connect with Newcastle-based Neurologist Dr Carlos Garcia-Esperon, who assessed Nina and prescribed vital blood clot-busting medicine.

“My family was so relieved that I received instant specialist care. By 9pm that night I was back to normal, thanks to Telestroke,” Nina said.

The Stroke Foundation is helping to raise awareness of Telestroke as it rolls out to even more rural and regional locations across the state.

Sixteen hospitals across regional and rural NSW are connected to the $21.7 million NSW Telestroke Service, which is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments and will expand to 23 sites by June 2022.

Implementation of the NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, eHealth NSW, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the NSW Ministry of Health.