Headlines: August 16th, 2000

The Government is to set up ten schemes to improve the NHS’ response to heart attacks. The ‘fast track teams’ will be formed by specialist doctors, nurses and technicians, as well as local GPs and will work across NHS management boundaries and between hospitals, to provide integrated heart disease care across local areas. The plan to form such teams was set out in the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease and the NHS Plan.They will provide rapid response to and effective emergency care for patients who have a heart attack, bring together the whole process of testing and treating heart disease patients so that their care is planned in advance in a way which is as convenient as possible for individual patients, speed up access to care by reducing bureaucracy and tackling bottlenecks.

The 10 million pound investment, announced as part of last month’s NHS Plan, will mean that the 3,000 extra heart operations in the two years to March 2002 announced by Health Secretary Alan Milburn will come on stream more quickly, while a further 3,000 operations on top of this will be provided by 2003