Cardiovascular disease is the major killer in old age, Its essential for cardiovascular obstruction pathology that access to tertiary care is rapid. Not all District General Hospitals have access to round the clock tests and treatments for stroke and heart attacks. This needs to be addressed, but with old buildings. too few pep[le and too few radiology machines there is little chance of matching the best treatment and running it out across the country. Those living in rural areas with poor transport links will get inferior care. In West Wales the Air Ambulance service is a charity meaning it has low priority for government. Without a better service, either better roads or a comprehensive air ambulance, west will not be worst for outcomes…
Heart attack and stroke victims are among hundreds of thousands of patients made to wait up to an hour for an ambulance because the NHS has never met key targets.
Critically ill patients are waiting too long because new rules for dispatching ambulances struggle to pick out life-or-death situations, experts fear. Meanwhile, patients with non-life-threatening injuries routinely wait more than three hours for an ambulance, analysis of official data by The Times shows.
Ambulance targets were overhauled in 2017 and while the changes were largely welcomed, one contentious aspect was longer waits for some heart attack and stroke patients. Patients who are not breathing or unconscious are now classed as category one, with an ambulance expected to arrive within seven minutes on average. This target has never been
However, other seriously ill patients, including many suffering heart attacks and strokes, are included in category two, where ambulances are expected to arrive within 18 minutes on average, with nine in ten arriving within 40 minutes. Neither target has been hit and in busy months one in ten ambulances has taken more than 55 minutes.
“These figures show the intense strain that many ambulance trusts are under,” Rachel Power, who leads the Patients Association, said. “Self-evidently, grossly unacceptable delays of many hours will put patients’ lives at risk.”
Chris Gale, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Leeds, said that for some heart attack patients “every minute is critical. What you don’t want to do is lose muscle in the heart because you can’t regenerate that.” Patients with other types of heart attacks might not need immediate care but the professor, who is researching ambulance delays, said distinguishing between them was often only possible once they got to hospital. “The default should be if you’re having a heart attack it’s an emergency and you come into hospital,” he said. “These patients need to be in hospital straightaway.”
Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “There needs to be greater transparency around the data to understand where the safety bar should be set.”
One in ten patients considered stable — classed as the lowest category four — wait more than three hours. A target to get to nine in ten patients in this time has been met nationally in five of the 18 months it has been used.
An NHS spokesman said: “The new ambulance response standards were introduced after the world’s largest clinical trial and with the support of patient groups and NHS staff. Over the last year, average response times for the most critically ill patients have fallen by 14 per cent and we will continue working with ambulance trusts to make further progress towards the new standards over the coming year.”