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Angioplasty access better but still patchy

An increasing minority of patients are now having primary angioplasty in the event of a heart attack, but access to the treatment varies widely from area to area, national audit results show.

Around 20% of patients now have the treatment – an increase of 42% in a year in England and 20% in Wales.

But in rural areas, access is often poor, with better communication needed between ambulance services, hospitals and general practice, the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project report concluded.

There are now 54 hospitals offering the treatment, compared with 35 in 2006/07, the report found.

But Dr Clive Weston, associate director of the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project said the patients undergoing primary angioplasty were heavily centred around London. ‘There are certain parts of the UK where it is not really being done at all.'

Dr Terry McCormack, a GP in Whitby and chair of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society said the results were good but agreed there was not enough primary angioplasty available.

‘Special consideration needs to be made for people who live on the borders of centres so ambulance services take people to the best place.

‘It saves a step because a lot of people who have a heart attach need to go on to have an angioplasty so you're killing two birds with one stone.'

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