Call for clarity over who gets heart drug

A COMMUNITY leader in Suffolk is demanding clarity over the type of heart attack care victims in the area will receive.

Rebecca Lefort

A COMMUNITY leader in Suffolk is demanding clarity over the type of heart attack care victims in the area will receive.

Poppy Robinson, deputy mayor of Stowmarket and a Mid Suffolk district councillor, said she was concerned that the ambulance service was unable to tell patients in the area what would happen to them in an emergency because it does not have clear guidelines in place.

The confusion arose after heart tsar Professor Roger Boyle advised following his review of Suffolk's heart attack care provision that patients in east and west Suffolk should be treated differently.

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If his proposals get the go-ahead it will mean all urgent patients are taken to specialist centres in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Essex.

But in the east patients, who would have before been taken to Ipswich Hospital, will be given clot-busting drugs in the back of ambulances on the way to the centres, while in the west, when they would have gone to the West Suffolk Hospital, they will not get the drugs which can interfere with the specialist hospital treatment.

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However, although there is a crucial difference in treatment, the East of England Ambulance Service said it could not tell patients in areas like Stowmarket what would happen to them.

Mrs Robinson said: “I would like to see more clarity about what will happen in Stowmarket. We are right in the middle.

“People will want to know what will happen and they won't want to have to make a choice in that situation.”

A spokeswoman for the ambulance service said: “We will not be defining specific geographical areas but using our sophisticated computer aided dispatch system, combined with local crew knowledge, to determine the nearest hospital, something we already do as part of our overall emergency response.

“Drawing a line on a map and expecting all of our crews to work to it would be virtually impossible and if Roger Boyle's recommendations are agreed, a decision will be taken about how we put the plan into action.”

Under the plans, which will go before Suffolk's health scrutiny committee on July 20, patients in Needham Market will be treated as east Suffolk patients, while those in Elmswell will count as west Suffolk.

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