Heart campaigners win partial climbdown

HEALTH campaigners are celebrating after winning a partial climb down in the battle to save 999 heart attack care in Suffolk.

Rebecca Lefort

HEALTH campaigners are celebrating after winning a partial climb down in the battle to save 999 heart attack care in Suffolk.

Plans had been drawn up by health chiefs for all emergency heart attack victims in Suffolk to be treated at specialist centres outside the county.

But yesterday the national heart tsar Professor Roger Boyle ordered an audit of previously-untested journey times to be carried because of real concerns that patients would not be treated quickly enough.


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He also ordered health bosses to start work on proposals for the development of a specialist heart attack centre at Ipswich Hospital, a move which had previously been resisted.

“I think the numbers justify a centre at Ipswich and that is what I'm encouraging,” he said.

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Patients in east Suffolk who suffer the most serious heart attacks will still be given clot-busting drugs in the back of ambulances - a process health bosses wanted to stop - before being transported to a specialist centre in either Norwich, Papworth, Cambridgeshire, or Basildon in Essex.

Prof Boyle's review into health bosses' plans - which were due to be introduced on June 1 this year - were carried out following a public outcry that lives would be put at risk if heart attack patients had to be be taken outside the county for specialist treatment.

Prof Boyle's verdict, which health bosses have pledged to follow, will be considered by Suffolk's health scrutiny committee on July 20.

“This has been democracy in action,” said Prof Boyle. “It is really good that people have robust views about what they want.”

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