31 Oct 2018

Heart patients in Hawke's Bay: 'Our waiting times are significantly worse'

6:16 pm on 31 October 2018

Heart attack patients in Hawke's Bay are waiting too long for specialist tests and treatment in Wellington, Hawke's Bay DHB says.

Dr Colin Hutchison.

Dr Colin Hutchison. Photo: Supplied

The DHB wants more interventional cardiologists and a dedicated angiograph unit so it can treat patients sooner, rather than wait for a bed to become availble in Wellington.

Patients who have a serious heart attack in Hawke's Bay are airlifted immediately to Wellington Hospital for a coronary angiogram and treatment.

A coronary angiogram is a special x-ray where dye in injected into arteries to find out if they are blocked or narrowed. It has to be done by an interventional cardiologist.

But those who experience a more moderate attack must wait to have the angiogram at Hastings Hospital, but the test is only provided three days a week.

Patients who then need further treatment must wait for a bed to become available in Wellington before they can be airlifted there.

Patients in major centres typically had access to an angiogram within 24 hours, but in Hawke's Bay some patients are waiting up to five days for a test and then for more than a week for treatment in Wellington, Hawke's Bay Hospital services executive director Dr Colin Hutchison Executive said.

"It's not ideal. In comparison to a major centre like Auckland, Wellington on Christchurch, our waiting times are significantly worse," Dr Hutchinson said.

The DHB planned to recruit more interventional cardiologists to slowly build up the service and it was working on a proposal to build a dedicated angiogram unit.