15 November 2021

Expert stroke advice through Statewide Telestroke Service expansion

More than 30 stroke patients across Western Australia have been provided with life-saving care through specialist stroke consultant advice in the first month of the Statewide Telestroke Service expansion.

Phase 1 of the $9.7 million service expansion enables WA health system clinicians in rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas to seek expert advice on quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment pathways for their patients.

The elements of the Phase 1 expanded service include:                                 

  • a dedicated Statewide Stroke Consultant roster operating Monday to Friday from 8am–6pm who can provide neurological imaging advice, expedited treatment pathways and timely clinical documentation
  • a single point of entry for suspected acute stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients who present across the WA health system.

Department of Health’s WA State Stroke Director Dr Andrew Wesseldine said the service expansion was a critical move towards providing equitable care to Western Australian communities regardless of location.

“Access to fast hyperacute stroke consultation and advice enables clinicians throughout the WA health system to achieve better health outcomes for their patients, especially in rural and remote communities.”

WACHS Director Outpatient Reform and Access Steph Waters said this was a welcome next step in supporting country patients and workforce to access specialist stroke consultant support and advice when required.

“Since the Department of Health launched Phase 1, multiple WACHS sites have already referred to a stroke consultant via the 1800 number.”

The biggest service uptake has been seen in the South West and Great Southern regions, with Dr William Macdonald, Head of the Albany Health Campus Emergency Department, commenting on how the Statewide Telestroke Service has enabled regional clinicians deliver excellent care.

“Fast advice from a stroke specialist who has access to scans and imaging in real time has been incredibly beneficial to clinicians who are treating patients suffering from stroke and stroke-like symptoms.”

The Telestroke Project Control Board has endorsed a phased implementation of the expanded service, working towards a 24/7 model over the 2021-2024 period.

The expansion of the Telestroke Service aligns to the recommendation made by the Sustainable Health Review to improve co-ordination and access for country patients and invest in prevention and innovation for a more sustainable, equitable and efficient health system.

This service will create system efficiencies that will contribute to the State's Recovery Plan, while also improving health outcomes for patients who experience a stroke and live in rural and outer metropolitan areas of WA.