HEART attack patients across Essex are facing a treatment lottery according to which day they fall ill, health experts have warned.

The stark admission came after a report revealed how cardiovascular patients will be transferred to Basildon to free up more beds at Broomfield Hospital for the winter months.

Throughout the last two winters there has been significant winter pressure across each of the mid and south Essex sites – Broomfield, Southend and Basildon.

And in order to tackle this issue, the Mid and South Essex Hospitals Group has agreed a new 26-bed ward at Broomfield Hospital and the introduction of 30 additional ‘Hospital at Home’ virtual beds for its patients, which would see patients given care in the comfort of their own home.

Trust bosses have also revealed they want to speed up the implementation of a new cardiology model for Non-ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI) – a type of heart attack – and life threatening arrhythmias – following the merger of the Mid Essex, Basildon, Thurrock and Southend trusts.

Stuart Harris, consultant cardiologist at Basildon, said: “In the case of acute coronary syndrome patients, who don’t have a full blown attack – there is some blood getting through but they are at risk of getting a heart attack. Ideally these patents have better outcomes if they have their ultimate interventions, whether that is angioplasty, tablets or surgery within 72 hours of presenting.

“We struggle to deliver that across Essex for a number of reasons and this will give us an opportunity to try and deliver this within 72 hours.”

He said often the barrier is doctors do not get to see patients early enough, adding: “So if you present on a Friday – the diagnosis might not often be made until the Monday and then we would have already missed that 72 hours window,”

he added. “With the new system you might present on Friday and there will be a direct access – initially by a phone call to the service so the patents can be transferred almost immediately and then can receive intervention, whether at the weekend or earlier in the week so we can more likely hit that 72 hours turnaround.”

He said another area where the hospital group does not perform as well is when older people need urgent pacemakers.

Mr Harris added: “At the moment you get a better service if you do present on Friday because we run an emergency service at the Cardiothoracic Centre.

“So if you present on Friday and you are in complete heart block and poorly we will place you within 24 hours at the Cardiothoracic Centre.

“That doesn’t happen if you present on a Monday because then you are more reliant on the local service.

“And because there aren’t enough doctors you will get placed but not until two or three days down the line.”