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Monday, 18 October 2010
Page: 644

Ms O’NEILL (8:58 PM) —I thank the member for Shortland for raising this issue tonight in the Main Committee. As has already been discussed, it is a great national sadness that 60,000 people will suffer a stroke this year, which works out to one stroke every 10 minutes. It is of even greater sadness to know that this tragedy could be greatly diminished with increased education and more assistance to primary healthcare providers.

I join the member for Shortland in her praise of the National Stroke Foundation and their promotion of the FAST campaign to educate not just those most at risk but also families, friends and colleagues about warning signs and the quick reaction that can guarantee the best outcome. Ensuring that both young and old know to watch for the key signs of stroke will mean a quicker response time and less chance of sustained disability. Knowing the symptoms and noticing changes to the face, an inability of the sufferer to lift their arms, slurred speech or a lack of understanding of other speech will mean that grandchildren will recognise these signs if they are alone with grandparents, a wife will notice these changes in her husband and ensure they seek assistance as soon as possible, or perhaps a workmate or even a fellow shopper may be able to act FAST to actively enhance the health outcomes of people who are experiencing a stroke. I became aware of this program on the television only just last week. I was walking, I had my headphones on and I found it a very easy slogan to respond to and to recall: Face, Arms, Speech and a Timely response.

But early prevention initiatives are also really important. We do know that strokes can be prevented or at least the risk of them can be reduced. Contributing factors such as age or family history cannot be helped, but individuals can seek further assistance from their primary healthcare provider about lowering their cholesterol or blood pressure, which are both high-risk factors for strokes. Similarly, quitting smoking, while not always easy, is certainly a step towards reducing the risk of a stroke.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! It being 9 pm, the debate is interrupted. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.