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Dubbo Hospital receives gold in stroke care

18 November 2021

Dubbo Hospital has been recognised by the World Stroke Organization for meeting high standards in stroke treatment and care. The Gold Status Award aims to improve global standards of treatment in stroke outcomes by setting best practice benchmarks.

Dr Kate Crossley, Dubbo Hospital Neurologist, said achieving the status was a great honour, and testament to the team’s dedicated commitment to improving stroke care.

“Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency which effects the brain’s blood supply.
Acting swiftly on the signs of stroke is crucial to improving chances of disability or death. Everyone should remember “FAST” Face weakness, Arm weakness or Speech disturbance, then it’s Time to call Triple Zero,” Dr Crossley said.

In 2020, Dubbo Hospital became a Telestroke site, connecting local doctors to specialist stroke Neurologists via video 24/7, further enhancing the service provided.

“We treat more than 300 suspected stroke patients a year have a well-coordinated medical team at Dubbo readily available 24/7 to deal with it. However, the sooner the person gets to hospital the better their chances,” Dr Crossley added.

Training, protocols and the performance of the hospital’s stroke unit were assessed as part of the initiative which included meeting a target of restoring blood-flow to the brain for over half of eligible patients within ‘the golden hour’ of hospital arrival.

“Ensuring stroke patients receive the right treatment within an hour of hospital arrival is the gold standard and increases chances of an improved outcome,” Dr Crossley said.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Australia, and the leading cause of disability. In regional Australia, rates of stroke are higher, particularly in Aboriginal people, who also have higher mortality rates.

A major report by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Stroke Foundation, highlights that people living in regional Australia are 17 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than those living in metropolitan areas.1

To achieve Gold Status a hospital must demonstrate a range of outcomes, including optimum treatment time, coordinated care, appropriate scans and screening, and ensuring patients are discharged from hospital on medications to minimise the risk of further stroke.

“Achieving this award is great timing as our hospital will soon benefit from a new Stroke Unit as part of its redevelopment project. We’ve been working hard for years to improve the care we provide for our stroke patients and it’s great to see our staff’s dedication has been recognised,” Dr Crossley said.

The $21.7 million NSW Telestroke Service was announced in March 2019 and jointly funded by both the NSW and Federal Government. The service has helped over 1300 patients since March 2020 and will expand to around 23 sites by June 2022.