Help get Palbociclib added to the PBS

By Benalla Ensign

Know signs of stroke

The Stroke Foundation has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $4.2 billion budget boost to health announced in the State Budget on May 1, and called for increased access to emergency stroke treatment as well as improved access to health services for stroke survivors when they leave hospital.

It was encouraging to see the Victorian Government ‘‘getting things done’’ by increasing investment in paramedics and hospitals.

It is now vital we ensure Victorians who experience stroke are accessing these services.

Victoria is home to some of Australia’s and the world’s leading minds in stroke.

We have some of the best emergency stroke treatment in the country, but not enough Victorians are accessing it.

Currently, just 39 per cent of Victorian stroke patients are arriving at hospital within the 4.5 hour window for clot-busting treatment — treatment we know saves lives and improves outcomes for stroke patients.

Why? Simply because not enough Victorians know how to recognise the signs of stroke and call an ambulance.

Stroke can be treated and it can be beaten, but only if patients can access the right treatment F.A.S.T.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to recognise the signs of stroke.

Face — Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms — Can they lift both arms?

Speech — Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time — Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, phone 000 straight away.

The $25 million Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund provides an opportunity to increase access to emergency and urgent care by ensuring someone in every Victorian household knows the signs of stroke.

It also provides an opportunity to give all Victorians a fairer future after stroke by connecting them with services and supports they need after leaving hospital.

I look forward to seeing more detail on the fund and working with Better Care Victoria to enhance access to services and improve health service quality and performance.

It’s time to ‘‘get things done’’ to stop this killer disease devastating more Victorian families.

Stroke Foundation also welcomed the Victorian Government’s commitment to improving health services in regional areas, continued commitment to the State Disability Plan and mental health initiatives.

I look forward to working with Minister for Health the Hon Jill Hennessy to ensure more Victorians avoid stroke, access appropriate stroke treatment and recover.

— Sharon McGowan, chief executive officer, Stroke Foundation

Cancer support appreciated

Further to the article on pages one and seven of last week’s Ensign, I am delighted to be able to let you know that it has been announced that the breast cancer drug I am taking, Ribociclib (known now as Kisqali), will be available on the PBS from July 1, 2018.

I would like to again thank everyone who helped push for it to be there — I could never have afforded the $60000 per year to pay for this drug, and am so grateful to have been one of 30 Australians to gain compassionate access to it for the past seven months.

I would also like to thank Rustik and Rambling Rose coffee shops for their continued support of our newly-formed Benalla Breast Cancer Support Group meetings.

— Anne-Marie Greenway, Goorambat