The Neurology team helps patients with stroke and neurology conditions that involve the brain and nerves. This may include seizures, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.  

What we do?

Patients who have been admitted to the hospital under the neurology and stroke team, may be treated at different locations in the hospital. These include the the Intensive Care Unit, the general wards or the Medical Day Unit. This will depend on the nature of the medical condition.

Our team will admit people for a range of conditions, in partnership with the medical and cardiology teams.

Our team operates a 24-hour acute stroke service.

Who do we care for?

We care for adult patients with stroke and neurology conditions.  This generally means conditions that involve the brain and nerves; examples include: seizures, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS).  

We work closely with the cardiology and other medical teams.  To ensure continuity of care, we do not generally take over the care of people being currently treated by other public hospitals or neurology in the private sector.

Some neurology conditions require referral to specialist services in Geelong or Melbourne, and our team may be asked by these services to provide some level of follow-up locally.

What can you expect?

Treatment of neurology conditions may involve:

  • Further tests to confirm or exclude a particular diagnosis
  • Intervention procedures, such as muscle biopsy
  • Medications that include immunotherapy for MS
  • A combination of medications and lifestyle measures that reduce the risk of, or prevent, further problems due to stroke and cerebrovascular disease
  • Assessment and treatment by a range of Allied Health Professionals
  • Referral to aged care and rehabilitation services

Patients with MS will also see our MS nurse, who will assist with the coordination of clinic appointments, prescriptions and admission for infusions via the Medical Day Unit.

How can you access this service

This service provides treatment to patients who have been admitted to Ballarat Health Services' wards via the Emergency Department or from one of our specialist clinics.

Commonly Asked Questions

When do the doctors visit?

The neurology team conduct a ward round each day and this starts typically in the wards or the Emergency Department.

What time is discharge?

Our team considers the needs for safe discharge from the very beginning of your admission, in order for you to return home safely.  The team takes into account your discharge needs – for example your medications and discharge plan are organised the day before your intended departure.

It is hospital policy to arrange discharge before 10am.

What happens after an admission?

The neurology team will write a discharge summary, which is sent electronically to your nominated GP.  We expect patients to have a follow-up appointment with their GP following discharge from hospital.

The neurologist may ask for you to be referred to specialist clinics for follow-up. This depends on whether or not there are clinical issues that require follow-up by a specialist.  

We may also suggest referral to our specialist nursing team or other Allied Health professionals.

It is our expectation that you will know the name of your condition/diagnosis.  You should be able to access plain language fact sheets that help you understand your medical condition.

Referral process

A referral requires clinical information.  The essential demographic referral requirements as per statewide referral guide:

  • Reason for referral
  • An accurate and appropriately-detailed description, including duration of symptoms and current symptoms (physical examination findings are mandatory).
  • Relevant pathology and imaging reports
  • Past medical history
  • Current Medications and allergies
  • Management to date and response to treatment
  • Note of treatment at other hospitals or with other specialists

Essential referral content will be checked and you may be contacted if further information is required.

The referral is triaged by the specialist unit, according to clinical urgency. This determines how long the patient will have to wait for an appointment.

Patients with urgent conditions are scheduled to be seen within 30 days. Patients with routine conditions are given the next available appointment, according to clinical need.

Additional information

Some clinics offer an MBS-billed service.  There is no out-of-pocket expense to the patient. MBS-billed services require a current referral to a named specialist– please provide your patient with a 12-month referral, addressed to the specialist of your choice.

Please note: your patient may be seen by another specialist in that clinic, in order to expedite their treatment.

Please note:  The times to assessment may vary depending on the triage.  It is particularly important that we have enough information to be able to triage appropriately and also to determine if a neurology review is likely to be the most appropriate specialist.

TIA

Please refer via the TIA clinic, rather than general neurology.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

We provide a comprehensive service that offers diagnostic and therapeutic advice to patients with suspected or known multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as suspected or other related disorders.

Our clinic is run by an MS specialist neurologist, as well as an MS nurse consultant and we can provide long- term management and treatment for our patients.

The neurology service does not manage chronic pain syndromes, including chronic headaches.  Our team does not see patients with back pain; with or without neurological signs/symptoms.  These conditions are best dealt with by a GP or physiotherapist, with support from specialists who work in Internationale radiology and neurosurgery.

Out team does not prescribe long-term opiate medications and does not support these as a treatment option for headaches.

If you are concerned about the delay of the outpatient appointment, or if there is any deterioration in the patient’s condition, please contact the Neurology Registrar on call on (03) 5320 4000.

Discussion with the registrar or sending a follow-up referral may save your patient a visit to the Emergency Department (ED).

Referrals from ED staff are triaged in the same way as referrals from GPs, with the clinical urgency rather than the source of the referral being taken into consideration.

After hours, the medical registrar or surgical registrar is the appropriate contact.  The neurology unit does not provide an after-hours on-call service.  

 

Have something to tell us? We welcome all feedback from patients, family members or carers. Tell us more.