Faster, better care for patients
HEART attack patients in rural areas now have faster access to life saving cardiac therapy and better recovery as a result of a new state-wide service officially launched by Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
The State Cardiac Reperfusion Strategy - led by the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) in partnership with NSW Ambulance and the state's Local Health Districts - is designed to deliver targeted care faster to heart attack patients from their first symptoms.
Almost 2,000 patients benefited directly from the first stages of the program and early activation of life-saving treatment in the last 12 months.
"Heart attack is a leading cause of death in Australia. More than 50,000 people suffer a heart attack every year, which is about one every 10 minutes across the country," Mrs Skinner said.
"Time plays a major role in treatment and recovery and can mean the difference between an improvement or an adverse outcome, especially in rural and regional areas."
The State Cardiac Reperfusion Strategy was first introduced across metropolitan Sydney and the Hunter New England area and is now available across rural NSW.
It includes different models of care designed to increase access to specialist medical advice and lifesaving cardiac therapy for suitable patients, wherever they live.
Under the new service, people with a suspected heart attack will receive:
- Rapid assessment by paramedics or clinicians in rural community hospitals, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) test
- Definitive early diagnosis by cardiology and emergency specialists who read ECGs and determine quickly how best to restore blood flow to the heart
- Rapid approval for immediate transfer to hospitals with access to primary angioplasty
- A life-saving emergency procedure for those with an ongoing heart attack
- Administration of immediate thrombolytic therapy by paramedics or nurses at remote or regional health services where no doctor is available (to dissolve clots that block blood flow to the heart)
- Expert specialist multidisciplinary care on arrival at hospital
- Transfer to the nearest local hospital for ongoing monitoring, rehabilitation and recovery.
For more information, go to http://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au.