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Heart Diseases: Health Services

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the performance against objectives of the 24/7 primary angioplasty service. (254418)

The Department's new guidance on treatment of heart attack in England was published on 20 October 2008. A copy has been placed in the Library and can also be found at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_089455

It is based on a feasibility study from which it was concluded that roll out of primary angioplasty across England would be feasible, that a 24/7 service was likely to lead to best outcomes and that acceptable times to treatment were 120 minutes from patients call for help and 90 minutes from arrival at hospital. An impact assessment suggested that roll out would be feasible in three years for 97 per cent. of the population.

The status of this guidance is 'best practice' and so decisions about the pace of change are for local commissioners. The treatment times given are to guide local planning and local performance assessment. The Department has however worked with the national health service to put in place appropriate monitoring mechanisms to assess progress. A recent survey of the 31 cardiac clinical networks identified that 10 had achieved 24/7 coverage and that a further 18 had plans for the introduction of primary angioplasty.

A plan of English cardiac networks can be found at:

www.heart.nhs.uk/heart/CardiacNetworks/tabid/105/Default.aspx#ss