Graphic: flight-nurse-rfds

When every minute matters

Date published

28 Apr 2021

The development of world-class technology transforming how stroke patients can be treated in the air has received a multi-million Federal funding boost.

The Australian Stroke Alliance (ASA), of which the Royal Flying Doctor Service is a partner, has received $40 million from the Medical Research Future Fund to advance its ground-breaking work into pre-hospital stroke treatment.

In a five year project, the ASA will design and test new mobile brain-imaging technology for use in the back of road ambulances or RFDS aircraft.

When treating stroke, every minute matters. Treatment needs to be offered within the first few hours and preferably within the first ‘Golden Hour’. 

In a country the size of Australia, time and distance prevents many people from receiving the urgent care they need.

Stroke incidence is 17% higher in rural and remote areas and with this comes twice the likelihood of significant lifelong disability. 

Unfortunately, only 3% of patients in rural and remote areas of Australia are treated in a stroke unit, compared to 77% of patients in metropolitan areas, with most needing to travel over 200 kilometres to access care.