AMBULANCE SERVICES

MINISTER’S STATEMENT

I rise to inform the house on the success of the Andrews Labor government’s dedicated stroke ambulance, the first of its kind in Australia. Earlier this month I joined paramedics, stroke nurses and radiographers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to mark two years since the cutting-edge stroke ambulance first hit the road. The purpose-built 5.3-tonne ambulance has a CT scanner on board capable of imaging a patient’s brain on the spot so that treatment can begin straightaway, even before arriving at hospital. In just two years the stroke ambulance has been dispatched to more than 2500 suspected stroke cases, with more than 1000 patients assessed and treated. It has performed 478 cutting-edge CT scans and administered 108 patients with clot-dissolving medication for thrombolysis.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Australia and causes more deaths than breast cancer in women and prostate cancer amongst men. This is why the stroke ambulance is so important. For one in 12 patients it would have been too late for treatment if it was not for the stroke ambulance. One of those patients who I met recently was saved by the stroke ambulance, and that was 56-year-old father of three Warren, who suffered a stroke earlier this year. Thanks to the quick-thinking actions of his son, Warren was attended to by the stroke ambulance and treated within an hour. Three months on, Warren is back at work and fully recovered, much to the delight of his wife and family, and I wish him the very best of health.

The revolutionary stroke ambulance is thanks to a $7.5 million investment by our government in collaboration with Melbourne Health, Ambulance Victoria, the Stroke Foundation, the Florey Institute and the University of Melbourne. It is part of our record $1 billion investment in ambulance services that has rebuilt the system after the coalition went to war with paramedics, causing ambulance response times to become the worst on the mainland. I also congratulate Ambulance Victoria on being designated the Premier’s major health service of the year at last week’s Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.