18/05/2020 | Press releases

Suffolk cardiac patient urges others to ‘definitely go’ to their hospital appointments

A man with a heart condition who felt anxious about coming in to hospital during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has urged others who may also be worried or scared to keep their appointments.

Rob Bridgeman, 53, said his worries were “unfounded” after his recent visit to the Heart Centre at Ipswich Hospital to have a stent placed into his heart.

He was diagnosed with angina in January, but it was in April – during the peak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – he noticed his symptoms were worsening.

He was struggling with stairs and other day-to-day tasks so he made contact with the Heart Centre. Within a matter of days his stent procedure, which had previously been postponed due to COVID-19, was scheduled.

Mr Bridgeman, from Ipswich, said:

“I was anxious, but it was unfounded. The fears I had about COVID-19 were non-existent in the end. The hospital is as safe as it can be.

“If you wash your hands and use hand sanitiser like we all should it is absolutely fine.

“If other people are worried, don’t be. You don’t want to miss your appointments and if you have an important appointment, take sensible precautions but definitely go.”

Stents are tiny, but vital devices. They can be used to treat angina when they are placed in a narrowed coronary artery to keep it open.

Mr Bridgeman has praised the team who looked after him, including consultant cardiologists Dr Sanjay Jeyaseelan and Dr Philip Read.

He said: “Everyone was friendly and efficient and I’m feeling good. The pain I did have is not there now so I couldn’t ask for more.”

Mr Bridgeman, who works for Ipswich Borough Council, has recently been re-deployed to work on the Home, But Not Alone Coronavirus phone line in Suffolk.

He said he now wants to be a part of the user group for the Heart Centre and use his experience as a force for good.

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, along with three consultants at the Trust have shared a video message with communities to highlight that hospitals are safe places for people who are ill.

Press play below to watch the video.

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