Heart attack services review date set

HEALTH bosses have announced that a review into the introduction of new heart attack services in Suffolk is due to start in mid-June.

Tom Potter

HEALTH bosses have announced that a review into the introduction of new heart attack services in Suffolk is due to start in mid-June.

Plans for new specialist treatment, which was marked down to be offered from June 1, have been put on hold while an urgent review is carried out by the Government's heart tsar.

NHS Suffolk said final arrangements for the review, which will include input from clinicians and patient groups, are still ongoing but that any implementation of a new service is on hold until its completion.

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Professor Roger Boyle, national director for heart disease and stroke, was chosen to review the proposed changes to treatment, which would send heart attack patients on a maximum 165-minute journey to specialist units in Papworth, Norwich or Basildon.

The Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PPCI) service would affect the one-in-four heart attack patients who suffer more serious Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI).

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Those patients would avoid going to the emergency department and instead go straight to the cardiac catheter lab for angioplasty treatment.

During his review, Prof Boyle has been asked to consider the strength of arrangements for the introduction of the new service, and to identify the overall provision of PPCI in the area and coronary angioplasty services at Ipswich Hospital.

In the meantime any implementation of PPCI in east Suffolk will be postponed and patients who suffer a heart attack will continue to receive pre-hospital thrombolysis clot-busting drugs before angioplasty treatment.

A spokeswoman for NHS Suffolk said: “The new service, which would see one in four of those who have heart attacks treated in specialist centres, is on hold until this review is complete.

“The final arrangements for the review team, led by Professor Boyle, are still under way. The aim is for this review to start in mid-June, subject to availability of all those involved. The review will include input from clinicians and patient groups.”

The NHS has also confirmed that the drugs used for thrombolysis will continue to be available at all hospitals and in ambulances and while the new PPCI service beds in, should it not be possible for a patient to get to one of the specialist centres.

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