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Heart Diseases: Health Services

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on links between cardiac arrest survival rates and the time taken for the patient to reach a hospital. (188256)

The Department has neither commissioned nor evaluated research on links between cardiac arrest survival rates and the time taken for the patient to reach hospital.

The national service framework for coronary heart disease and other guidance in this area is based on the best available evidence, and departmental policy recognises the importance of ensuring that an emergency ambulance response reaches the patient as quickly as possible. The ambulance response time target for calls to people with potentially life-threatening illnesses and conditions (which includes cardiac arrest) is for 75 per cent. of cases to be responded to within eight minutes irrespective of location.

For heart attack (blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot which may lead to a cardiac arrest if not treated quickly), the Department has not commissioned research, but research results have been taken into account in the formulation of policy on heart attack treatment. There is accumulating evidence that angioplasty leads to better longer-term outcomes than clot-busting drugs even if it takes longer to deliver.