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Stroke ambulance an Australian first

Australia’s first dedicated stroke ambulance will start treating thousands of Victorians in a $7.5 million, four-year trial.

The $1.5 million ambulance, funded by anonymous Melbourne donors, is expected to respond to about 3000 strokes a year within a 20 kilometre radius of Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Patients lose two million brain cells every minute when suffering a stroke and the first hour of treatment is critical, Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Professor Stephen Davis said.

“This specially equipped ambulance will mean stroke patients will have the specialist treatments they need much sooner,” he said.

The state-of-the-art ambulance will allow paramedics to deliver life-saving treatments at the scene, instead of at hospital.

It will be equipped with a CT scanner donated by the Stroke Foundation and have a stroke nurse, radiographer and two paramedics on board.

The service will eventually run 24 hours a day.

The state government is putting $7.5 million toward the operational costs of the trial.

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