Heart plea to health minister

IPSWICH: Today The Evening Star is calling on the health minister to intervene in the heart attack crisis taking place in our county.This desperate plea comes after the tragic death of a woman, who was due to be taken to Papworth Hospital as part of a trial to take emergency heart attack patients to specialist hospitals, but was diverted back to Ipswich Hospital following complications, where she died.

IPSWICH: Today The Evening Star is calling on the health minister to intervene in the heart attack crisis taking place in our county.

This desperate plea comes after the tragic death of a woman, who was due to be taken to Papworth Hospital as part of a trial to take emergency heart attack patients to specialist hospitals, but was diverted back to Ipswich Hospital following complications, where she died.

Although it was initially believed the woman was 40 years old, it can now be confirmed she was in her early 80s from the Whitton area of Ipswich, and died in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

This is believed to be the first case of a person to have died since the trial began last month.

The Evening Star began a huge campaign after plans to take emergency heart attack patients in Suffolk to specialist Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention centres at either Papworth, Norwich or Basildon.

There are currently no plans to have a PPCI centre in Ipswich meaning extremely ill patients face a road dash of more than 60 miles for treatment. Until the review called for by The Evening Star, paramedics would also be unable to administer life-saving clot busting drugs, but as part of the three month trial, this is now allowed.

Most Read

Experts have admitted that the closer patients live to a PPCI centre, the higher the chances are of survival.

Andy Burnham was appointed health secretary earlier this year and, once more, we are urging him to step in and look at the vital issues faced by people in East Suffolk.

In June we wrote an open letter to Mr Burnham, asking him to help set up a specialist PPCI centre in Ipswich.

Now, the need is even greater and we say the time is now step in and help save the lives of Suffolk people.

However, those supporting the changes claim treating people at the PPCI centres will mean they get better care.

Dr Paul Watson, director of commissioning at NHS East of England, said: “Coronary heart disease remains one of the biggest killer in developed countries. Up to 30 per cent of patients die before receiving medical treatment. Evidence shows PPCI offers patients the best chance of survival after a heart attack. However, unfortunately patients do still die - even with access to the best medical treatment. For the review in east Suffolk, Professor Boyle will review every case and the final report will be shared openly before final decisions are made.”

Marcus Bailey, general manager for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk said: “We would like to offer our condolences to the family. The patient, who we can confirm was in her 80s, not 40 as stated in newspaper reports, was given clot busting drugs on scene, but sadly suffered a cardiac arrest before getting to hospital.”

Do you have a message for Mr Burnham? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Proposals to treat all emergency heart attack patients in PPCI centres - which are all outside Suffolk - were revealed after The Evening Star uncovered them in the SHA's strategy to improve healthcare in the region

Concerns became so widespread that a review was called for just ten days before the move was due to take place on June 1.

The original proposals by the SCG meant people would not be given clot-busting drugs in the back of ambulances but would go straight to the specialist centres to undergo angioplasty, which involves using a balloon to clear blocked arteries.

More than 24,000 signatures were collected against the move by The Evening Star, prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives Ben Gummer, and Heartbeat East Suffolk.

Professor Boyle, the national heart tsar and his team, investigated in detail concerns over journey times and inequalities expressed by the patients and clinicians. He ordered that a thorough audit of previously-untested journey times was carried out. This trial period started on September 1, and could last six months.

It was also agreed that during the trial patients would be given clot-busting drugs in ambulances on route to PPCI centres if deemed necessary

The Evening Star launched its Have A Heart Appeal to help set up a catheter laboratory at Ipswich Hospital . The lab will initially be used to treat non-urgent heart operations but could eventually be expanded into a specialist primary angioplasty centre.

The appeal is asking for just one pound from every person who may need care at Ipswich Hospital 's cardiac department in the future - which would collect around �350,000. The total is already exceeding �11,900.

To support the 'Have a Heart' appeal send cheques made payable to Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to Have a Heart, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or donate money in person at the Star's Ipswich offices.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter