Heart attack emergency response lowest in West Sussex

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AMBULANCE response times for heart attack patients in the Chichester District have been flagged up as the lowest in the county.

Only 22.2 per cent of Chichester patients were seen to by paramedics within eight minutes – a target set by South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust.

In August, 100 per cent of patients in the Crawley borough and 93.3 per cent of patients in Worthing received medical attention within the target time.

Speaking at a West Sussex County Council health and adult social care select committee meeting on Thursday, county councillor Jeremy Hunt said the figure was ‘incredibly low’.

“I think the community should ask for this issue to be looked at.”

David Skipp, from Horsham District Council said he hoped to see an improvement to the service in Chichester soon.

“I don’t want to dwell on the SECAmb figures too much. But I think the public would want to know that these are being worked on.

“I think we have a right to expect there will be an improvement.

“Not just pass it as a challenge and something which is going to be done in the future.”

Anouska Adamson-Parks, from SECAmb, said: “We are aware that it is a very low and unacceptable performance for Chichester.

“One of the things we are doing is recruiting community first aiders who will have the ability to deal with the life saving aspects.

“It is my understanding that we do have challenges in the district.

“As a trust we are finding this year quite challenging.”

Peter Evans, cabinet member for children, said the figure ‘was a worry’ for the Chichester District. He said it was probable the ‘rural aspect’ of the district was distorting the numbers.

A report by SECAmb said performance against the eight minute target has reduced because of ‘increasing demand’ and ‘system wide issues’. It also said the differences between the areas were down to population size and road networks.

However, SECAmb reached 95 per cent of Chichester patients suffering non-life threatening emergencies within the 30 minutes target. Paramedics also reached 64.8 per cent of people with life threatening emergencies which weren’t heart attacks in eight minutes.

The discussion followed a review of accident and emergency services for West Sussex residents. The committee heard how hospital trusts and clinical commissioning groups in West Sussex were dealing with the increasing pressure on accident and emergency services.

Rob Haigh, chief of medicine at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said although the trust is the ‘best performing’ in the region, it was going to be ‘a challenging winter’.