Tasmanian Health Service (THS), which operates the Mersey Community Hospital (MCH), has expanded its partnership with the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine (VST) service.

The expansion provides enhanced access to life-saving stroke care at the hospital to the Devonport and North West community.

It will provide clinical staff at MCH access to 24/7 on-call support from VST stroke specialists for assessments and diagnoses, enabling faster care for stroke patients.

This expansion claims to optimise care and save crucial minutes in providing life-saving interventions, such as clot-busting medicines for patients presenting with stroke symptoms.

Officials from the VST service will perform a final simulation exercise in preparation for the launch of the service in the coming weeks.

The VST service has already been deployed at other hospitals, including North West Regional Hospital and Launceston General Hospital.

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The service expansion is said to be part of the government’s Long Term Plan for Healthcare in Tasmania 2040, emphasising equitable access to specialised services and the use of virtual care to bring healthcare services closer to communities.

Tasmania Minister for Health Guy Barnett said: “This will be a game-changer for patients attending the MCH with stroke symptoms, as fast treatment for a stroke is essential for achieving the best outcomes.

“We are doing what matters for Tasmanians by providing greater access to specialised services and utilising virtual care to deliver services closer to where people live.”

The VST service claims to help MCH adhere to national stroke care standards and guidelines.