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Patients in Morecambe Bay can now have “life-saving” defibrillators fitted

Westmorland General Hospital

A new service to fit defibrillators in patients, across South Cumbria and North Lancashire, with life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities, has launched today (Monday 1 July) at the cardiac centre at Westmorland General Hospital (WGH).

The service has multiple benefits for patients including:

  • Reduced travel time (patients previously travelled to Lancashire Cardiac Centre in Blackpool and to hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle)
  • Easier access to treatments locally and local follow up appointments at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHMBT) three main hospital sites, improving patient experience
  • Continuity of care provided by the local clinicians with whom patients may have been under treatment for, for some time.

The Trust hopes to fit defibrillators, a device which delivers therapy such as a shock to patients who are suffering a cardiac arrest, to 165 patients at the cardiac centre by 2024. People are referred to the service by their GP.

Adrian Brodison, Consultant Cardiologist, UHMBT, said: “I’m pleased to announce the launch of this new service which will offer local people the chance to have defibrillators fitted which can be lifesaving to patients suffering from heart rhythm abnormalities

“I want to stress that although defibrillators will be fitted at the Cardiac Centre at WGH, this is very much a cross bay service with follow up appointments being offered across the Trust’s three main hospital sites.

“As well as many benefits to patients, there will be many benefits for staff. They will be able to use skills that they have already learnt and other staff will be able to undergo training in this area.”

The cardiology service across the Trust sees thousands of patients every year with heart failure, damaged hearts, those who have had a cardiac arrest and been resuscitated or have other cardiac diseases; some of which may be congenital and put them at risk of sudden cardiac death.

The Cardiac Centre at WGH offers many types of cardiac implanted electronic devices such as bradycardia pacemakers, implantable continuous heart rate monitors (Linq devices) and Biventricular pacemakers for patients with some forms of heart failure.

Patients who use the service are those with heart failure, damaged hearts, those who have had a cardiac arrest and been resuscitated or have other cardiac diseases; some of which may be congenital and put them at risk of sudden cardiac death.

The elective implant service will run up to three days per week with follow up services running five days a week with emergency cover at weekends.

Dr David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “I’m delighted that this new service has launched to people living in South Cumbria and North Lancashire.

“The service will help to improve patient experience and prevent them from having to travel massive distances to hospitals further afield and will ensure that they have easy access to this type of therapy.”

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