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Question: Stroke Foundation

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:39): I am just stunned by the ministerial statement that I am reading, Mr President—I am happy to have the call. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing on the topic of strokes.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I have had the pleasure to meet with advocates today from the Stroke Foundation and they have raised two concerns that they have to take to this state election, one of which is investment—some $800,000 over four years—in a proven early intervention and education program called F.A.S.T. Indeed, when someone suffers a stroke every minute counts and being aware of the symptoms has been shown to have extraordinarily effective health outcomes for better life-saving and crucial interventions for those patients. Fast access to treatment will mean a greater chance of recovery for South Australian patients and, of course, decreased cost to the South Australian health system. This awareness campaign has been run in several other jurisdictions, so my questions to the minister are:

1. Is he aware of the F.A.S.T. campaign and the effectiveness of it in other jurisdictions?

2. Will the government find $800,000 over four years to put into government advertising for F.A.S.T. to assist potential stroke victims rather than the current government advertising rollout that seems to be more concerned with ameliorating the negative impacts on the Marshall government before the state election?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:41): I thank the honourable member for her question. I suspect it goes beyond my responsibility. As I understand it, the honourable member is asking me, 'What is the government's position on a policy proposal for the next election?' I am certainly not authorised by the Liberal Party to announce our election policies for next year, but let me assure you I have met with the Stroke Foundation representatives a number of times. I am well aware of the F.A.S.T. program, the four indicators of a potential stroke event.

As the name suggests, an early recognition of stroke symptoms, an early response to stroke symptoms and, for that matter, a rapid health response is crucial to good outcomes. In that regard, the Stroke Foundation is very positive about the work that this government has done and the health network more broadly in South Australia. The wider availability of thrombolysis is leading to positive outcomes for people with stroke. My understanding is that the Stroke Foundation's assessment is that South Australia is a leading jurisdiction in stroke response and we certainly intend to stay that.

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