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Acute Stroke Unit established at Middlemore

3 September 2001 Media Statement

Acute Stroke Unit established at Middlemore Hospital

Health Minister Annette King says the new Acute Stroke Unit at Middlemore Hospital, the first of its kind in New Zealand, will have a significant influence on the way strokes are treated in this country.

"Strokes are a major cause of death and disability in New Zealand. More than 650 patients are admitted to Middlemore each year with acute strokes. Throughout the country the figure reaches several thousand, representing a major social and economic cost."

Mrs King, who today opened the first phase of the new Adult Medical Centre at Middlemore, said international research strongly supported the concept of specialist stroke units.

"Clinical trials show they provide better outcomes for patients and their families and a reduced length of stay. As well, specialist units offer the opportunity for more training and education, and for more focused and collaborative research.

"I strongly believe this unit will show the way forward for the future care of stroke patients in New Zealand."

Counties-Manukau District Health Board chief executive David Clarke said the 12-bed specialist unit would be staffed by a dedicated multi-disciplinary team led by internationally-known stroke specialists Professors Craig Andersen and Valery Feigin.

"The unit will have strong links with existing rehabilitation and geriatric services, community services and Stroke Foundation of New Zealand field workers. There will also be a specialist neurovascular clinic at Manukau Superclinic," he said.

Mr Clarke said the unit would be involved with education and training for medical students, nurses and allied health professionals, and would also conduct clinical trials in new treatments for acute care, prevention and rehabilitation.

"Many of these studies will be conducted as part of global research with organisations here and overseas. In particular, negotiations are underway for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to establish linkages for specialist services, training and education in stroke prevention."

ENDS

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