Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 16:52 UK

New heart attack service on trial

Severe heart attack patients in east Suffolk will be given potentially life-saving drugs before being transferred to specialist hospitals.

Health officials had planned to take heart patients to units up to 50 miles away without using "clot-busting" treatment - known as thrombylosis.

But campaigners demanded the drugs be given before the journey.

A pilot scheme beginning on 1 September will see patients taken to Cambridge, Norwich and Basildon.

Patients will be thrombylised before having a standard procedure known as an angioplasty at the specialist centres.

The pilot scheme will monitor results, including journey times, to allay public concern about the plans.

Feedback from patients

Simon Griffith, the associate director of specialised commissioning for the NHS in the East of England, said: "One purpose of this pilot is to record the actual journey times from east Suffolk to the heart attack centres."

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said it would also be an opportunity to receive feedback from patients about the new service.

At the moment, there is no specialist heart centre in Ipswich and NHS Suffolk said it could be at least four years before such a centre is established.



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