MEMBER for Wannon Dan Tehan will lobby his Coalition colleagues to include a national campaign to reduce the incidence of stroke in the opposition’s health policy for this year’s election.
Mr Tehan gave the undertaking after meeting with Warrnambool stroke victims and regional stroke care co-ordinator Patrick Groot.
Mr Tehan said he hoped to “get the process started” for the Coalition to consider the National Stoke Foundation’s (NSF) national action plan to reduce the incidence of stroke.
The action plan seeks $198 million over three years for initiatives to improve care as well as improve community awareness about stroke.
Mr Tehan said he would talk to federal opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton and federal opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb about including the stroke campaign in discussions about its health policy.
He said he had a special interest in action to reduce the incidence of stroke because he was a patron of the Portland Stroke Support Group.
The proposed national action plan would be of particular benefit to the south-west because it has a higher-than-state-average incidence of stroke.
In the past 12 months, SWH Warrnambool has treated 108 stroke patients and 30 patients who have suffered a transient ischaemic attack, commonly known as a mini-stroke.
High blood pressure is the most important known risk factor for stroke.
It is often called the silent killer because there might be no symptoms.
The proposed national action plan recommends regular blood pressure checks as part of a range of measures that include empowering Australians to identify and manage their health risk.
Mr Groot said Mr Tehan had met people who were doing a pilot rehabilitation program after suffering a stroke.
The pilot program involved eight consecutive weeks of two-hour sessions and got people “out of the black hole” they fell into after suffering a stroke, Mr Groot said.
Mr Groot said the NSF’s national action plan proposed initiatives that would provide care for stroke victims not only in hospitals but also for their transition back into the community.