People in Coventry with
suspected heart problems can look forward to quicker treatment soon
after Walsgrave Hospital was chosen to host a new chest pain clinic
The hospital was just one of
four in the West Midlands to be picked out for extra money to fund the
Health Secretary Alan Milburn
announced the expansion in 'rapid access' clinics for patients with
suspected heart problems at the Labour Party conference.
It is hoped that the clinics
will be open by April. The government says there will be 139 across
the country, almost trebling the original target of 50.
The aim of the clinics is to
speed up diagnosis and treatment by making sure that those with
suspected angina can be seen and assessed by specialists within two
weeks of referral.
Over £15m has been set aside
this year to enable the clinics to be established or upgraded.
Additional funds are also being made available locally from Health
Action Zones and the Health Improvement Performance Fund.
The initiative forms part of
the Government's National Service Framework to improve prevention and
treatment of coronary heart disease.
Alan Milburn said:
"Patients with chest
pain that may be angina can sometimes wait weeks for a hospital
appointment after seeing their GP.
“We need to make sure
these people are seen quickly and these clinics will mean that these
patients can be seen within two weeks or even sooner.
"Those with heart
problems will be given specialist advice and diagnosis quickly. And
for the majority, whose pain is not caused by heart problems,
reassurance can be given promptly.”
The clinics will see patients
referred directly from GPs via telephone, fax or email. Typically, two
thirds or more of the patients with chest pain seen in these clinics
can be reassured immediately that their symptoms are not due to heart
disease, rather than waiting anxiously for weeks.
The aim is that those patients
identified as having heart problems can be given the priority they
The clinics will enable
patients to be seen and assessed within two weeks of referral to
hospital by their GP.
Patients with acute chest pain
who are thought to be suffering from a heart attack will continue to
be admitted as an emergency via the Accident and Emergency department
or coronary care unit
People attending the new
clinics will undergo a 'one stop' assessment by a specialist staff so
that, instead of waiting weeks or longer for different tests, many can
be undertaken during the initial hospital visit.