Healthy economy for healthier state

Ed,  On behalf of the Stroke Foundation, I welcome the New South Wales Government’s $25 billion budget boost for health, in particular the $60 million investment in cardiovascular medical research including stroke. I applaud the State Government for its foresight in advancing innovation to stem the increasing impact of stroke and other cardiovascular disease on the community and the health system. New South Wales is home to 12 of Australia’s top 20 hot spots for stroke incidence. This year alone almost 19,000 strokes will be experienced by the people of our state.  Too many people are losing their lives or being left with an ongoing disability as a result of stroke, but it does not need to be this way.  Stroke is a largely preventable and treatable disease. Research will help us beat it.  It is also important to ensure these innovations, when they come, are translated into improved practice benefiting all New South Wales residents. Currently, people of New South Wales are forced into a cruel lottery of stroke treatment and care. Some patients do have access to first-class health services, however most do not. Patient outcomes vary widely depending on where people live, with those in the state’s regional and rural areas worst impacted. We must ensure all patients across the state get world-class, timely care in our hospitals and health services no matter where they live – treatment and ongoing specialist care that we know saves lives. The State Government’s record investment in infrastructure and emergency response are vital steps forward in providing a better life for those impacted by stroke and also reducing the diseases burden on the community, health system and economy. The State Government has done a great job in ensuring New South Wales has a healthy budget. It now has an opportunity to harness its financial and economic strength to deliver a world-class health system for all the people of our state. It is vital the people of New South Wales have access to the healthcare they need and deserve, including time critical stroke treatments we know save lives. Unfortunately, access to these treatments outside of our state’s major centres is limited due to stroke specialists primarily being located in our cities. However, the State Government’s Budget investment provides an important foundation for a state-wide telemedicine network providing emergency treatment for stroke patients and other time-critical conditions 24 hours a day, seven days a week across the state. Teresa Howarth New South Wales State Manager Stroke Foundation