24/7 health service

A Berkshire hospital has launched a round-the-clock service to treat heart attack patients.

Ambulance crews will now take patients with blocked arteries straight to Royal Berkshire Hospital’s cardiac unit for an emergency angioplasty day or night.

It follows a successful pilot project, and patients will normally be treated within an hour of suffering symptoms of a heart attack. Launched on 1 April, the service has so far successfully treated four patients. The procedure sees a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip inserted into any blockage in the artery.

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A spokesman for the hospital trust said: “The hospital has been running the angioplasty service for a few months now during daytime hours and took the decision to make the service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”