Ambulance crews get new training

REVOLUTIONARY new practices for ambulance crews could help save the lives of heart attack victims across the county.New government funding means that ECG machines could soon be available in Suffolk's ambulances for paramedics to send vital information to hospitals ready for their arrival.

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By JESSICA NICHOLLS, health reporter

jessica.nicholls@eveningstar.co.uk>

REVOLUTIONARY new practices for ambulance crews could help save the lives of heart attack victims across the county.

New government funding means that ECG machines could soon be available in Suffolk's ambulances for paramedics to send vital information to hospitals ready for their arrival.

It is also hoped that paramedics will be able to administer clot-busting treatment to help disperse blood clots that form in the heart when an attack occurs, known as a thrombolytic service.

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The Department of Health has been investing up to £500,000 a year to develop the ECG and thrombolytic service across East Anglia.

Bosses at East Anglian Ambulance Trust have been asked by the Strategic Health Authority to take the lead in reforming emergency care across the region.

The new measures are particularly good news for people who live in rural areas.

Guidelines suggest that the first treatments for a heart attack should be given within 60 minutes.

Long journeys from countryside areas can eat into vital treatment time for patients.

If is hoped that the machines should be in place as early as September once evaluations of a number of them have been submitted to the Government.

John Scott is clinical director for the East Anglian Ambulance Trust.

He said there are phenomenal benefits for the new ways of working.

"Paramedics will be able to diagnose what is happening with patients and the links we are setting up will be able to process that information into the hospital.

"We have been in discussion with the hospitals about it and the good thing is it is not just us doing it, everyone is working together on it."

Also in the pipeline are electronic patient records.

Patient files can be available at the touch of a button ready for when the patient arrives at hospital instead of having to wait around for paperwork.

And there are also benefits for patients who crews feel do not need to go to hospital.

Mr Scott said: "For the patient that you leave at home, you can get a link to Primary Care and get a message to GP's to show what we are doing.

"From our point of view there are phenomenal benefits."

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