HEART attack victims in Cheshire and Merseyside will receive latest treatment techniques within two years – even though it could mean a longer trip to hospital.
The region is lagging behind when it comes to offering an operation known as primary angioplasty. Only 2% of patients were treated this way in 2008/09.
The operation involves inflating a balloon in the blocked artery to reopen the blood flow.
Patients suitable for treatment are at least twice as likely to survive, suffer less damage to their heart, leave hospital on average two days sooner and have a better quality of life afterwards.
Helen Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust, who also chairs Cheshire and Merseyside Cardiac Network, said the service only began in January and was being implemented in Liverpool so far.
She said: “We are looking into expanding this service across Cheshire and Merseyside. We are trying to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.”
The new technique sees heart attack victims bypassing their local hospital and travelling by ambulance to Liverpool’s Cardiothoracic Centre, which has the necessary expertise.
But Mrs Bellairs is investigating whether it would be quicker for patients in communities like Malpas to be taken to hospital in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
An extra £1m funding is necessary to train paramedics and doctors and buy more emergency ambulances because the longer journeys involved take vehicles out of the system for the rest of the community.
Patients currently receive a clot-reducing drug treatment known as thrombolysis.