Heart attack services in Suffolk

West Suffolk patients are transferred directly to a Heart Attack Centre (HAC) and receive primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). East Suffolk patients are treated according to the pilot pathways as recommended by Professor Boyle.

This matter will come back to Suffolk’s Health Scrutiny committee when the results of the pilot are known. The pilot has been extended as the number of people suffering STEMI heart attacks in East Suffolk is very small and a larger sample size will be needed to draw any conclusions. Following concerns about travel times to transfer patients from East Suffolk to either Norwich or Papworth, Professor Boyle’s recommendations were:

·        Pre-hospital thrombolysis to continue in east Suffolk but with transfer of the patient as quickly as possible to the nearest primary percutaneous intervention centre so that possible angioplasty could be undertaken as quickly as possible

·        Patients admitted to A&E at Ipswich Hospital should be thrombolysed but instead of admission to Ipswich, for the duration of the pilot, should be transferred urgently to the PPCI centre

·        Patients with STEMI who have a contraindication to thrombolysis should also be referred urgently for assessment at a PPCI centre

·        This pilot should run for three months (now extended)

·        Patients from West Suffolk should join the PPCI programme at Papworth without delay

·        After the three months there should be an external review of outcomes, travel times and patient acceptability. Professor Boyle offered to facilitate the review and to determine whether there were sufficient data at that point to assess the options for future service configuration. A longer period of assessment was identified as possibly being necessary if the number of cases was low.

·        Further recommendations related to NHS Suffolk leading an engagement process and also development of an information leaflet for members of the public.

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