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Brand new cardiac centre transforms patient care

A brand new, state-of-the-art cardiac centre has been opened at the West Suffolk Hospital, and renowned Newmarket jockey Frankie Dettori, the hospital’s My WiSH Charity Every Heart Matters appeal ambassador, returned to see it and meet patients and staff.

Set to transform the heart healthcare it can provide to its community, the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has invested £5.2m in developing the centre, which can, for the first time, offer additional procedures like angiography and pacemakers to patients.

The new lower-ground floor unit at the West Suffolk Hospital brings together the cardiology ward, cardiac care unit and cardiac diagnostics unit. Previously each area was located in different parts of the hospital.

The Trust used to only be able to offer angiograms once a week, on a mobile unit that visited the hospital car park. The new centre now hosts a state-of-the-art catheterisation lab, enabling the Trust to carry out a combination of diagnostic angiograms and pacemaker procedures five days a week. This means better care and reduced waiting times for patients and reduced pressure on other centres where patients were once referred.

Dr Pegah Salahshouri, cardiology consultant at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, has been instrumental in bringing the centre to fruition.

She said: “I am so proud of the hard work and dedication of the multiple teams who have been involved in creating the new cardiac centre. It is a fantastic space and means we can offer our patients a fully integrated cardiac service and much improved care here in west Suffolk.

“I’m a pacing specialist so when I started working at the Trust it made no sense for me to have those abilities but not be able to provide them here. I originally asked for a slot in theatres but was invited to make the case for a new unit. The hospital’s cardiology department has seen a 23% increase in patient demand over the last five years, therefore it made so much sense to invest in this.

“Bringing together our cardiac care unit, cardiology inpatient ward and cardiac diagnostics unit, enables a much more efficient way of working for our staff and better continuity of care for our patients. We are now one team, sharing the same space and no longer spread out across the hospital. More importantly we can now provide a combination of elective and non-elective angiography and pacemaker surgery procedures to our local residents.”

Completion of the centre, in particular the transfer of the hospital’s cardiac diagnostics unit, was made possible by My WiSH Charity, which has been hard at work fundraising through its Every Heart Matters appeal. Launched last year by Frankie Dettori, he returned to the hospital to open the unit.

Frankie Dettori said: “Wow! What an amazing achievement! The local community really stepped up to show their support to ensure great new facilities in our local hospital. Well done and thank you to everyone for supporting the appeal. I’m so impressed by the new space; we’re a very lucky community to have it.”

Sue Smith, head of fundraising for My WiSH Charity, said: “This is the biggest appeal My WiSH has undertaken to date and the appeal funds have ensured that diagnostic tests like echocardiograms can also be done in the same place – rather than two floors above, which is where diagnostics used to be.

“I thank Frankie and our many donors for the support and funds you have raised for the appeal, you have been working so hard to help us reach our £500,000 target, and we could not have done this without you.”

Dr Pegah Salahshouri added: “With an ageing population in west Suffolk, we’re likely to see more patients with heart disease that need our care. We want those people to feel inspired by their surroundings and confident about the care they receive when they come to our hospital. I think the new cardiac centre will do just that.”

Steve Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Developing new services and facilities like this are a huge undertaking. Many members of staff are involved in various stages and their sheer dedication and determination to succeed are a real credit to them. We now have a wonderful new space, and more importantly can provide new and improved services for our patients.”

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(Left to right) Dr Pegah Salahshouri, cardiology consultant at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust talking with Tony Nunn, one of the first patients to have a pacemaker fitted in the new cardiac centre.

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Appeal ambassador Frankie Dettori officially opens the new cardiac diagnostic unit at West Suffolk Hospital’s new cardiac centre,

Appeal ambassador Frankie Dettori officially opens the new cardiac diagnostic unit at West Suffolk Hospital’s new cardiac centre,