Reassurance to heart attack patients

IPSWICH Hospital today moved quickly to reassure patients after new figures showed heart attack sufferers did not get the vital treatment they needed within the required time last year.

IPSWICH Hospital today moved quickly to reassure patients after new figures showed heart attack sufferers did not get the vital treatment they needed within the required time last year.

Only 28 per cent of patients get vital clot busting treatment within the recommended 20 minute time limit of arrival at hospital - but the target is 75 per cent.

The figures were revealed in a review of the health service in East Suffolk and found that the majority of trusts in the region had difficulty in reaching the targets.

But as well as trying to improve the amount of patients given the treatment it has also been decided to revise the targets for 2003-4. The target has now been increased to one hour to fall in line with the timescale which has now been set after problems throughout the country.

"Nationally a lot of trusts have struggled with their targets," said Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell. "We are not at all complacent but the target has now been changed to 60 minutes from call to needle time. It is accepted nationally that call to needle time is the most critically important." Ms Rowsell said the previous target of 20 minutes was based on the amount of time it took from picking the patient up to giving them the injections they required.

"There is a big difference between call to needle time and door to needle time," she added. "Everyone involved including the people in the community, ambulance staff and hospital staff are working closely to gring the quickest and safest care to people."

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Anyone having a heart attack should be given treatment within what medics have termed "The golden hour" to aid their chances of survival and a quicker recovery.

Moves are already being made within the health service to get the thrombolytic (clot busting) treatments given as soon as possible but have still fallen way short of the targets.

Earlier this year East Anglian Ambulance service revealed that they would be training paramedics to be able to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading of patients while they are in the ambulance to check whether they are having a heart attack.

Paramedics were also being trained on giving the clot busting treatment while patients are still in the ambulance, once it has been established that a heart attack is taking place.

And at Ipswich Hospital moves were also being made to cut down on the time it takes to start treatment.

Last year a survey by the Royal College of Physicians found that the hospital only treated two third of patients within the recommended time, which then, was within 30 minutes of entering hospital.

Since then though adjustments have been made and because the hospital is working with the ambulance trust, patients can now be taken through to the specialist cardiology department without having to register at reception first.

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