Heart attack service aiding a speedy recovery

When it comes to having a heart attack, the speed and quality of the treatment you receive can make a real difference to your chances of recovery.

The latest report from the Royal College of Physicians shows that the Hertfordshire Cardiology Centre, based at the Lister hospital in Stevenage, is making sure people having a heart attack get that specialist treatment quickly. It is now among the top 15% in England for treating patients within 90 minutes of arrival hospital. That means that patients have a better chance of survival thanks to their specialist team and also to the quick work of colleagues from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust who stabilise patients and get them into hospital quickly.

‘When someone suffers a heart attack, it is important to treat them quickly, to make sure the heart muscle suffers as little damage as possible, to ensure the best possible outcome.’ said Professor Diana Gorog, Clinical Director for Cardiology at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs the Lister.


The Hertfordshire Cardiology Centre was expanded significantly a year ago at a cost of £4.5 million and currently provides a weekday, 9-5 heart attack service. Patients needing treatment outside these times are usually taken by ambulance to either Harefield or Papworth.

The Lister Hospital currently offers emergency angioplasty treatment to patients who have a blocked artery in their heart. This is an operation to unblock the artery, and insert a stent to keep it open. The current service is open Monday to Friday, 9-5, which makes it hard to compare directly with other centres which offer 24/7
treatment.

The team are extremely proud of the work that they have done to place the unit in the top 15% for providing this specialised treatment to patients within 90 minutes of their arrival and – with thanks to the local ambulance team colleagues – the Trust is actually rated as 4th in the country for providing the heart attack treatment within 2
hours of someone calling for help.

Professor Gorog went on to say, ‘It is our ambition to extend our service to provide these life-saving treatments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will be better for patients and their families as it means they will be able to get the specialist care they need more rapidly and closer to home. We have the support of the local cardiac network and the Trust board, and are now working to secure the funding to add that final piece of the jigsaw to the service we provide.’

Nick Carver, Trust chief executive said,

“The Hertfordshire Cardiology Centre is just one of the successful projects that demonstrate the Trust’s ambition to improve even further specialist inpatient and emergency care for local people. It is also a great example of the improvements in the quality of treatments that our staff can provide to their patients when such specialist services are brought together on to a single site.

This approach is at the heart of our current programme of hospital changes, which will see some £150 million being invested to make the new Lister hospital the centre for all emergency and inpatient care across east and north Hertfordshire, as well as parts of Bedfordshire, by 2014.”