Improved access to stroke services in country SA

South Australian rural patients who suffer a stroke will now be able to receive specialised treatment closer to home at any time of day or night at the State’s three regional stroke services.


Starting this week, clinically suitable patients will be able to access specialist stroke services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service, Riverland General Hospital (Berri) and Whyalla Hospital and Health Service.


This service redesign includes improved access to reperfusion therapy and improved clarity of support arrangements between country and metropolitan hospitals ensuring that stroke patients are assessed by expert medical staff sooner, therefore improving outcomes.


Prompt transfer to any stroke service – either in country South Australia or metropolitan Adelaide is essential. The service improvement also involves changes to ambulance protocols in order to fast track access to stroke services for eligible patients.


Different sorts of strokes require different treatments, and these treatments can only occur following medical assessment and brain scanning.


Most strokes occur due to a blood clot preventing blood flow to the brain and in some patients this clot can be removed by a treatment called reperfusion therapy, which uses medication to break down clots and remove the blockage to blood flow to the brain.


Medical Services Acting Executive Director Dr David Rosenthal said, "Clinical teams at the stroke services in Mount Gambier, Berri and Whyalla will continue to liaise with the specialist stroke teams in Adelaide for support to undertake timely reperfusion therapy where this can be safely performed, and organise a transfer to Adelaide if further acute treatment is required, for example a clot retrieval.


The early recognition of a patient with stroke symptoms, using tools such as F.A.S.T. (Face Arm Speech Time) is vital, and members of the community who suspect someone is suffering stroke symptoms should immediately call 000.


For more information about strokes, see the Stroke Foundation website at


9 January 2018.