MHK questions 999 emergency ‘best practice’

CARDIAC CARE: Michael MHK Alf Cannan.

CARDIAC CARE: Michael MHK Alf Cannan.

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SHOULD heart attack patients from the north be treated in the first instance at Ramsey Cottage Hospital?

That was the question raised in Tynwald by Michael MHK Alfred Cannan who raised concerns that cardiac and other emergency patients are routinely taken by ambulance to Noble’s Hospital.

Mr Cannan said: ‘Not all emergency cases are the same and that in the case of cardiac arrests, transporting a patient for, perhaps, up to 25 minutes in an ambulance from the north of the island, or from the far north of the island even, up to Noble’s Hospital may not actually be the best practice.’

He suggested there paramedics and ambulance drivers attending these emergencies should be allowed to make an assessment as to whether getting the patient to the nearest resuscitation unit would be better, rather than just the island’s main hospital.

Health Minister David Anderson MHK said Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital, through its Minor Injuries Unit, is first point of contact for assessment, treatment and advice for patients with minor injuries and illness. He said the MIU is not an acute resuscitation care facility.

Mr Anderson said there had been a comprehensive review by the Isle of Man Resuscitation Committee into whether cardiac arrest patients should be electively transported by ambulance to Ramsey, and it had been concluded that this could be detrimental to patient care.

He said this decision was supported by the senior medical and nursing staff at Ramsey and the Chief Ambulance Officer, who agreed that in most instances patients should be taken to Noble’s Hospital where the appropriate emergency medical facilities are available not just for the heart attack, but the follow-on care that is needed to give the best outcome afterwards.

The Minister confirmed there was a full equipped resuscitation unit at Ramsey Cottage Hospital.

Richard Ronan (Castletown) said members must remember why the Cottage Hospital was built in the first place ‘out of very tragic circumstances many, many years ago, basically because they could not get medical help’.

He asked the Minister if he believed the use of its facilities was being maximised.

Mr Anderson replied: ‘I do believe that we are getting better use now of Ramsey District Hospital than we have ever done before and there are several business cases going forward to make sure that certain things that are delivered within Ramsey that will actually take the pressure off Noble’s Hospital.’

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