Where is the Coffs stroke unit?

DEIRDRE Buttsworth will never know if a stroke unit slated for Coffs Harbour Health Campus would have made a difference for her husband of 40 years, Alan.

And it's the not knowing that makes her angry.

Alan suffered a severe stroke in January that has left him with brain damage, and he has been in Coffs Harbour hospital ever since.

While Deirdre can't say enough about the dedicated hospital staff, she's angry that a Stroke Unit funded for the hospital has yet to get off the ground. “I know at his age these things happen but I may have been able to take him home if the stroke unit was up and running,” Deirdre said.

A direct question from the Advocate to North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) on when the stroke unit received the funding has not been answered.

Yet a spokesperson for NSW Health said $461,214 was allocated to NCAHS for the Stroke Unit in October 2008, including a one-off payment of $40,000 towards set up costs.

A spokesperson for NCAHS said the anticipated operational start date for the Stroke Unit is the middle of 2009 - almost a year later and that recruitment would begin 'shortly'.

For Deirdre, that's too little, too late.

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