Call for life-saving Bunbury stroke unit to support region

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Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald
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“Funding for this unit is not a great ask from the government.”
Camera Icon“Funding for this unit is not a great ask from the government.”

The Stroke Foundation is calling on the next State government to invest in a life saving stroke unit for Bunbury Hospital to help save lives and improve outcomes.

In 2016, Busselton resident Rodney Oates had a stroke and was taken to Bunbury Hospital, but the healthcare facility did not have the expertise or facilities to diagnose his stroke and he was transferred to Perth.

It was two days before Mr Oates’ stroke was diagnosed.

Stroke Foundation WA manager Luke Hays said time was critical when treating stroke and a local stroke unit would help produce much better health outcomes.

A stroke kills up to 1.9 million brain cells per minute, but treatments help stop the damage, Mr Hays said.

Stroke is a medical emergency and you’ve got a really narrow window of time to deliver the care so the sooner you can get to a hospital setting the better the outcomes.

“More than 2700 West Australians will experience a stroke for the first time this year, many of these strokes will be experienced by residents in the South West,” he said.

“At the moment people are having to be transported or in some cases drive themselves to Perth to access specialist stroke care in the units up here and that has a huge impact on people.

“Stroke is a medical emergency and you’ve got a really narrow window of time to deliver the care so the sooner you can get to a hospital setting the better the outcomes.”

Mr Hays said Bunbury Hospital saw more than 100 stroke patients each year, yet it did not have the specialist focus and expertise to deliver stroke treatments that improved outcomes.

“Funding for this unit is not a great ask from the government,” he said.

“There are a lot of survivors of stroke who live in the Bunbury area.

“Having that unit in Bunbury would not just be a great outcome for individuals at the time, but help provide that follow-up care in the community.”

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