Doctors at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) have warned of the potential damage and dangers caused by delaying a visit to hospital if people ignore symptoms of a heart attack.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has understandably left people in communities served by the Trust anxious and potentially scared about coming into hospital.
However, conditions like heart attacks do not stop because of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
At Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, which are run by ESNEFT, medical teams have seen some patients who are leaving it too late to come to hospital with complications of a heart condition when their symptoms had developed much earlier.
This means patients are generally more unwell when they arrive at hospital.
The earlier care and treatment is provided, the more effective it will be. Any delay can lead to permanent damage being caused to the heart muscle and circumstances which can be avoided with prompt treatment.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mark Scoote, based at Colchester Hospital, said: “Avoiding treatment for a heart attack can put your life at risk. It’s really important patients don’t ignore the symptoms, such as chest pain which doesn’t go away, and that they call 999.
“We would also encourage anyone who receives an invitation to come in for tests and attend an echocardiogram, for example, to come and see us – these procedures are vital and it is safe to come to hospital for your appointment.”
Consultant cardiologist Dr Mark Scoote, who is based at Colchester Hospital
Ipswich Hospital based Consultant Cardiologist Dr David Bloore, added: “Cardiology services have been maintained throughout the crisis across the Trust.
“This has meant we can support patients with the fitting of pacemakers and angioplasty/stent procedures. If you, or someone you care about, needs treatment for a heart condition, we can still provide that treatment and provide it safely.”
Consultant cardiologists Dr Duncan McNab and Dr David Bloore
Chief Medical Officer for ESNEFT, Dr Angela Tillett has urged people in east Suffolk and north Essex to listen to the advice from the Trust’s heart specialists.
She said: “We have made every effort to make sure that the hospitals are safe spaces for patients to come to so they can receive the care they need, when they need it.
“We understand people may be worried, but if you feel unwell and need urgent treatment, come and see us, it is safe for you to be in hospital. We’re still here for you.”
ESNEFT’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Angela Tillett
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