Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust celebrated the completion of a three phase improvement project to ensure that emergency treatment for heart attack patients continues to be available at Torbay Hospital.
The project included a new recovery area, a second cardiac catheterisation laboratory and refurbishment of the existing laboratory, making Torbay Hospital one of the few district general hospitals nationally to offer the service.
Patients suffering an acute heart attack are delivered by ambulance direct to the cardiac catheter laboratory (bypassing A&E) for a procedure called primary percutaneous coronary intervention (pPCI) where the blocked coronary artery is re-opened. The NHS only allows pPCI to be performed at sites that provide a 24/7 cardiology service, which Torbay hospital has been doing since 2011.
A new national standard agreed in 2012 required all trusts providing the 24/7 pPCI service to have a second cardiac catheter laboratory. Torbay Hospital’s second lab opened in March 2015 and the refitting of the original lab was completed in June 2015 with the latest equipment installed.
The existing recovery area was also upgraded in September 2014 to provide improved patient privacy and dignity.
Having two cardiac catheter labs at the Hospital means that planned heart procedures no longer have to be interrupted or cancelled when an emergency patient is brought in by the ambulance service. It will also enable expansion of local services in the future and help ensure a quality service for patients locally rather than having to travel longer distances to other hospitals in the South West peninsula.
Lead Governor, Cathy French, said: “Many years ago, I had an investigation at our original catheter laboratory. The procedure was explained thoroughly and the staff were kind and reassuring. I was very interested to attend the opening of the new facility and to see the technical advances made since my last visit. We are so lucky to be able to offer a first class service to the local community and to have dedicated staff to run it.”
Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Wasing Taggu added: “Over the last ten years the development of the cardiology service at Torbay has progressed significantly. The opening of the second catheter lab has further enhanced the opportunity to undertake lifesaving cardiac emergency interventional procedures in a much more consistent fashion.”
Patient, Mr Peter Butler, said: “I was the first patient to be treated in the new cardiac catheter lab at Torbay Hospital. It is a superb addition to the hospital’s facilities and will be of immense benefit to the residents of South Devon. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr Taggu and his staff for the excellent treatment that I have received.”