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Thursday, 3 March 2016
Page: 3071

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (10:52): Stroke is one of Australia's biggest killers and is the leading cause of disability. One in six people has a stroke in their lifetime. Everyone who has a stroke has someone else who's life has been impacted upon because they have had a stroke. In 2015 there were 50 new and recurrent strokes and 1,000 every week. That equals one stroke every 10 minutes. In 2015 there were almost 440,000 people living with the effects of stroke. That figure is predicted to increase to 709,000 by 2032.

I am quite concerned that we as a nation have not taken strokes seriously enough. We have not dealt with the issue surrounding it. Unless there is some action, this will continue to escalate. In 1996 the Australian health minister named stroke as a national health priority but, since then, very little has happened. In 2016 it is now a national health emergency. There has been the clot-busting drug, and a constituent in my Shortland electorate was one of those responsible for coming up with that drug, but very few people get access to it. Internationally, patients receive thrombolysis within 60 minutes of arriving at hospital. In the UK it is 56 per cent. In the US it is 43 per cent. In Australia it is 26 per cent. So we are not stepping up to the mark. We are not doing a good enough job.

Patient care is another area where we have failed. Of the 30,000 people that have a stroke each year, almost 20,000 leave hospital and do not receive the full benefit from a stroke care unit. Forty-four per cent are discharged without a care plan and one-third are discharged without preventative medicine. I think that is a national disgrace. I think all of us in this parliament should recognise what a big issue it is, and it impacts on each and every one of our electorates. As a government and an opposition, all members need to join together to call for action. Stroke kills more women than breast cancer and more men that prostate cancer, yet still there is very little action.

We have the FAST test—face, arms, speech and time—which looks at the identification of stroke. In addition to that there is very else little around. There is StrokeConnect for stroke survivors and InformMe for stroke health professionals. The telemedicine pilot is very limited. The monitoring of stroke care is not good and we need to improve that. We also need to look at prevention of stroke.

The Stroke Foundation have a proposal that I am very supportive of, and I hope that members in this House will be very supportive of it. We need to cut that increase of 135,000 new strokes each year and see whether we can stop them. It is preventable, but we need to get messages out. A solution is making sure that there is $10 million over four years for the FAST campaign. We know about it. The information is out there but we need to make sure that it gets out to everyone so that people know, very quickly, when they are having a stroke, which is time sensitive. There is also the national rollout of the StrokeConnect program with post hospital support Australia-wide. The InformMe program for health professionals needs to be rolled out and shared as best practice. There needs to be expansion of telemedicine. We also need monitoring of Australia's stroke care and an update of absolute risk cardiovascular prevention guidelines. We need action and it is time for us as a parliament, both sides, to join together to address stroke.