Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Concerns raised over number of heart attack patients receiving timely treatment

17:28 10 January 2013

Dr Alan Murray, chair of Suffolk's Health Scrutiny Committee

Dr Alan Murray, chair of Suffolk's Health Scrutiny Committee


ONE in four emergency heart attack patients from east Suffolk are not receiving potentially life-saving specialist care within the nationally recommended time, new figures have revealed.

Experts today shared their concerns as 26% of 168 patients suffering serious heart attacks between April 2011 and March last year failed to receive potentially life-saving treatment to unblock their arteries in the time recognised as giving people the best chances.

The figures – the result of a pathway introduced following a shake-up of emergency care in the region – are set to be debated at Suffolk’s Health Scrutiny Meeting next Thursday.

The guidelines state patients should reach a PPCI (primary percutaneous coronary intervention) centre and receive angioplasty treatment within two-and-a-half hours of the initial call.

The procedure involves inserting a deflated balloon through blood vessels to the site of the blockage in the heart.

At the blockage the balloon is inflated to allow blood to flow through again. A stent can then be inserted to permanently open the artery.

In May 2009 controversial new plans introduced by the East of England Specialised Commissioning Group, meant patients requiring angioplasty would be treated in one of three PPCI (primary percutaneous coronary intervention) centres in East Anglia – at Papworth Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich and Basildon.

Following a pilot of journey times ordered by heart tsar Professor Roger Boyle, following an outcry from patients in east Suffolk, a new PPCI pathway for patients from east Suffolk started in April 2011.

Alan Murray, chair of the scrutiny committee said the figures “on the face of it do give cause for concern”.

Dr Murray said he has requested more information from NHS Suffolk before next Thursday’s meeting.

“Having received the information scrutiny are very interested in the significant percentage of patients who are not reaching a PPCI centre for treatment within 150 minutes.

“I have asked NHS Suffolk for more information both absolute timings and the particular distances patients are being asked to travel.

“I am also keen to see comparisons with other rural areas with the same geography.

“It maybe that there is a cause for concern on the face of these figures.”

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said problems with ambulance response times in rural parts of east Suffolk are “without doubt” a contributing factor.

He said: “There is absolutely no doubt ambulance response times in some parts of rural east Suffolk are unacceptable.

“It is not the fact the paramedics don’t want to get to patients but the fact that senior managers have chosen not to put resources in those rural areas.

“Time when someone is suffering a heart attack is of the essence. The more time taken to receive treatment the lesser the patient’s chances of recovery.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “The 150 minute call to balloon time is not a maximum time limit. Patient outcome is more important than call to balloon time. During the trial period Professor Roger Boyle concluded that although journey times from east Suffolk were longer than the average across the east of England, mortality was comparable with the east of England as a whole.

“There has been a rigorous and attentive audit scrutinised by doctors from Ipswich and the Heart Attack Centres. There is no evidence of worse outcome.”

In 2010 Professor Boyle recommended that while patients needing emergency care should still be sent to one of the regional centres those requiring elective care should be treated in a new PCI centre at Ipswich Hospital.

Last February the funding was secured for the new centre to be built at Heath Road. The first patients are expected to be treated at the centre later this year.


  • I live 54 miles from Papworth Hospital and 53 miles from Basildon Hospital. Allowing for an 18 minute (hopefully) response time for a paramedic to arrive, stabilise me and get on the road to either location, it is going to be very close to getting me there within 150 minutes. If the A14 is blocked (like today) or the same on the A12 , patients from my area are going to be at risk. (Yes, I do donate to the air ambulance charity each month)

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

  • The East of England and also needs to make sure it's medical reading is up to date: Many young people who have strokes at an early age often turn out to have Hughes Syndrome: Antiphopholipid Syndrome:

    Report this comment

    eastern parts

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Dr Dan said problems with ambulance response times in rural Suffolk are "without doubt" a contributing factor and are unacceptable. So we reward the outgoing CEO of the East of England Ambulance Service with a knighthood for his services. Right...........

    Report this comment


    Thursday, January 10, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Sir David Attenborough reopened the Abberton Reservoir for Essex and Suffolk Water and Essex Wildlife Trust. The reservoir has had an enormous amount of work done to it as a reservoir and as a wildlife habitat.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust today launches an ambitious £1million public appeal as part of a land purchase plan that is on a scale “unprecedented” in the nature charity’s long history.

Abnormal loads will be making their way along the roads of Suffolk over the next two weeks

Motorists in Suffolk are being warned to watch out for traffic delays as three abnormal loads slowly make their way along the county’s roads over the next two weeks.

Rebecca Haley

A girl from Stowmarket who attended a top private school in North Norfolk had watched a television series which featured depression and suicide before being found dead, an inquest heard.

The Oasis English Language Centre is based in Burlington Road, Ipswich.

Volunteer teachers are working to transform the lives of migrants and refugees in the most deprived areas of Ipswich as part of a newly established charity.

An agricultural vehicle broken down on a roundabout on the A12 near Martlesham. Photo: Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Team/Twitter

There is slow traffic on the A12 in Suffolk this afternoon because of a broken down vehicle.

Bury St Edmunds Conservative constituency candidates at the King Edward VI School last night for the election that will see the winner fight the next general election.
James Cleverly

Essex MP James Cleverly has said he will back the expansion of Heathrow despite being a long term critic of the plan.

Frankel welcomes guests to Newmarket National Heritage Centre

Her Majesty The Queen is to officially open the new £15million National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in the Suffolk town of Newmarket, where many of her own horses are trained and stabled.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24