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Faster cardiac care for Wairarapa patients

Faster cardiac care for Wairarapa patients

Wairarapa patients are benefiting from faster specialist cardiac treatment, thanks to a new agreement between Wairarapa and Capital & Coast DHBs, and Wellington Free Ambulance.

Now when a patient in the Wairarapa suffers a heart attack, the responding paramedic can measure their heart signal with electrocardiogram taken in the back of an ambulance, and transmit those results directly to staff at Wellington Hospital’s regional coronary care unit, who are notified.

Hospital clinicians can then advise the paramedic on the best course of treatment, which may be to administer special drug treatment in the ambulance before transporting the patient to Wairarapa Hospital or by helicopter transfer Wellington, if emergency intervention is necessary.

Jo Wailling, charge nurse manager for Acute Services at Wairarapa Hospital sees it as a really positive step in the care of cardiac patients.

“It offers Wairarapa patients the same access to specialised cardiac knowledge as someone in Wellington, by streamlining the assessment process.”

Head of clinical services for Wellington Free Ambulance, Dr Kate Wang, says the collaborative agreement brings the region’s specialist unit closer to Wairarapa patients.

“When someone suffers a heart attack, every second is precious.”

“There is a short window of time where if we can get the right treatment to patients, we can increase their chance of survival.”

The collaborative approach has been used successfully in Wellington and the Kāpiti Coast for almost a decade, says Dr Mark Simmonds, clinical leader for cardiology at Capital & Coast DHB.

“We’re simply extending that coverage north of Greytown to as far as Mt Bruce. Wellington Free Ambulance were early adopters of this technology and they have a proven system and ability to do this.”

Wellington Free Ambulance estimates that the change will mean around 25 more patients are transferred directly to Wellington hospital each year.

Earlier assessment and treatment will lead to better outcomes to patients, Dr Simmonds says.


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