On behalf of the Stroke Foundation, I welcome the Victorian Government’s $5.5 billion budget boost to health services, in particular its focus on emergency response and improving health infrastructure where it is needed most.
It is encouraging to see the Government furthering its commitment to delivering a hospital system Victorians can rely on close to home.
The challenge now is to ensure all Victorians know to dial triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke to benefit from our emergency response system and hospitals.
Stroke attacks the brain, the human control centre and it can change lives in an instant.
Around 1.9 million brain cells are destroyed each minute, but this damage can be stopped with the right treatment at the right time.
Sadly, not enough Victorians are accessing these treatments because they are not aware of the signs of stroke and the need to urgently call an ambulance.
Currently, just 36 per cent of Victorian stroke patients arrive at hospital within the 4.5-hour time window to benefit from time-critical blood clot dissolving treatments.
It’s estimated there will be more than 14,000 strokes in Victoria this year and the incidence continues to rise as our population grows and ages and lifestyles become more sedentary.
I urge the Government to build on this year’s budget investment in health with a targeted F.A.S.T community education campaign to ensure people seek treatment for stroke quickly to improve outcomes.
I also urge the community to take the time to learn F.A.S.T signs of stroke.
The F.A.S.T test involves asking these questions:
Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?
Arms – Can they lift both arms?
Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?
Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call 000 straight away.
Jodi Briggs, Stroke Foundation  Victoria State Manager.