Cardiac team celebrates one year of caring for community hearts
The cardiac centre at West Suffolk Hospital was officially opened on 11 December 2018, by the Every Heart Matters appeal ambassador, Frankie Dettori.
The centre was built with a £5.2 million investment from West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), and half a million pounds raised by My WiSH Charity and their fundraisers, who all worked together to transform heart care for the local community.
One year on, and the centre is doing just that, with new procedures taking place and patients receiving top quality care close to home.
Michael Brown, 81, from Hundon in Suffolk, and his wife Mary experienced the importance of the new cardiac centre first-hand on Christmas Eve last year. Michael felt very tired and unwell, and went to see his GP, Dr Simon Whitehead from the Guildhall Surgery, Clare, at 10.00am. Dr Whitehead realised Michael had heart problems, and sent him straight to West Suffolk Hospital where the team fitted him with a pacemaker at 2.00pm. He was able to leave hospital at 6.00pm on Christmas Eve, the same day, so he was ready to enjoy Christmas Day with his family!
He said: “What happened to me was truly amazing. I didn’t feel nervous or anxious at all, and nor did my wife. The whole cardiac team are so talented and reassuring, it was lovely to come back today and see all their smiling faces again. I feel a lot better this year than I did last year.”
Dr Pegah Salahshouri (right) fitted a pacemaker for Michael Brown (left) on Christmas Eve last year
Dr Pegah Salahshouri, lead cardiology consultant at WSFT, was the driving force behind the new centre. She said: “I can’t believe it has been a whole year since the cardiac centre opened – my colleagues and I hit the ground running from the first moment, and they have been incredible ever since, so I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication to our patients.
“Our cardiac centre has enabled us to perform new procedures on site, such as fitting 247 potentially life-saving pacemakers*, and 129 implantable loop recorders** so far.
“We now also have the capacity to do both emergency and non-emergency angiographies***, and have conducted 789 of these procedures in our new centre to date. We used to only be able to offer elective angiograms once a week, in a mobile unit that visited the hospital car park; our new centre really has revolutionised the care we can offer our patients.”
The cardiac diagnostic unit, made possible by the incredible fundraisers of My WiSH Charity, is where patients first go to have tests if they have suspected heart problems. Tests include echocardiograms (ultrasound scans of the heart), electrocardiograms (ECGs which are tests that records the electrical activity of the heart), exercise tolerance tests (ECGs recorded while a person is exercising) and more complex scans.
Sue Smith, head of fundraising at My WiSH Charity, said: “I am so proud to tell our fundraisers about the amazing work that is happening in the diagnostic unit that they helped to create.
“In the 11 month period after the new centre was opened the Trust has performed more than 19,500 diagnostic tests. These vital tests help to ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis for our cardiac patients, and the staff are so pleased to be working in their modern, dynamic new surroundings. It just shows what a difference our community fundraisers make to the care in our hospital.”
Written by Hannah Walker