Frankston Hospital – Heart Attack Diagnostic Lab

Heart Attack – can life be saved with the right services?

The question is being asked whether Frankston Hospital should have an operational heart diagnostic lab on weekends, after the death of a patient on the way to Monash from Franskton Hospital.

The paramedic on duty that night explained that the extra distance puts heart attack patients under severe un-necessary strain under circumstances when every minute counts. This therefore puts strain back on the ambulance services and resources, leaving mass amounts of areas uncovered.

Due to the Peninsula’s rise in population, it’s critical that a catheter ward should be open seven days a week, he said.

Frankston Hospital runs a fully staffed catheter lab 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with 24-hour on-call service at nights and until 7am on Saturday. This exposes patients with heart attack symptoms on a Saturday and Sunday when there is no coverage whatsoever.

Peninsula Health spokesman John Jukes said the catheter lab at Frankston Hospital had never been open on weekends and the closest tertiary hospital was Monash Medical Centre in Clayton, which is 32km away.

Health Minister David Davis told ABC Radio last week that Peninsula Health had requested an independent review into the death and they’d appointed a reviewer who would conduct an investigation alongside Peninsula Health.

“Over a long period there’s been a challenge for our system with transfer times from ambulance into emergency department … indeed the challenge is to find better ways of doing this,” he said.

Additional resources, staff and support are being considered for the triage system to manage the flow of ambulances, including a version of a ‘concierge system’.

Research is underway into the management of patient flow and the possibility of assistance in the emergency departments to prevent heart attack related deaths owing to the lack of facilities.

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