Minister praises Harefield Hospital for cutting-edge patient services
21 November 2008
Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health Services, today visited Harefield Hospital where she learnt more about its leading primary angioplasty service for heart attacks and its artificial heart programme.
Ms Keen spent an hour at the hospital meeting staff and patients who had recently benefited from care at Harefield. Praising the hospital, she said, “It is a privilege and an absolute pleasure to be here. Thank you for everything you’re doing – it’s fantastic.”
Ms Keen - a former nurse whose responsibilities include cardiac and cancer services, patient safety and chronic long-term conditions – was greeted by the Trust’s chief executive, Bob Bell, and chairman, Lord Newton of Braintree. She then toured the catheter labs where director of the Trust’s heart division and consultant cardiologist, Dr Charles Ilsley, gave her a detailed overview of Harefield’s leading primary angioplasty service for heart attacks. Dr Miles Dalby, consultant cardiologist, explained how the heart attack centre has the fastest door to treatment time in the country at just 23 minutes. Dr Dalby also described the importance of Harefield’s location - optimally placed in terms of geography to care for patients brought in directly by ambulance services from a wide surrounding area.
Meeting the Minister, heart attack patient Nicolas Farr, a farmer living close to Baldock in Hertfordshire, said of the primary angioplasty service, “If there wasn’t this treatment here at Harefield I probably wouldn’t be here. It’s absolutely extraordinary how quickly it’s done.” Fiona Hughes, a relative of Nicholas’ who is a former nurse, said, “I can’t fault the care here – it is inspiring to see such good nursing.” Nicholas’ wife, Trish Farr, also an ex-nurse, added, “Everywhere is so clean. It literally sparkles.”
Ms Keen then went on to the transplant unit where Dr Emma Birks, consultant cardiologist, gave her an overview of Harefield’s pioneering artificial heart programme – the largest of its type in the UK. A number of patients were introduced to the Minister including those currently living with artificial hearts. James Jackson spoke to Ann Keen about his cutting-edge treatment at Harefield.
James had been critically ill in his late teens and was given an artificial heart to allow his own heart to naturally recover. He then had his artificial device removed.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Ann Keen visited the Magdi Yacoub Institute based at the Heart Science Centre in Harefield Hospital grounds. The Prime Minister unveiled a statue in tribute to the work of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, who he said was regarded as a hero around the world. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to describe Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust as “a magnificent Trust which is doing so much good work in so many different areas.”
Heart patient, James Jackson, who was also present at the unveiling, commented, “I was very nervous when meeting the Prime Minister but I was really impressed by how interested he was in my condition and how positive he was about Harefield.”
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