North Cumbria’s new Heart Centre – a sneak peek

The new £3.4m heart centre based at the Cumberland Infirmary is very nearly complete and we have been for a sneak peek inside.

The team will start treating patients in the new state of the art labs next week and the whole team are very pleased with the new space.

Dr Justin Barclay, clinical director for cardiology said:

“Having the two labs is a complete game changer for us, before now we only had one. We used to have to postpone planned procedures if we had an emergency case come in. These two labs are, not just state of the art with the best equipment we could ask for, they mean that we will be able to carry our planned procedures simultaneously with emergency procedures.”

The Heart Centre is used for emergency surgery for people who have suffered a severe and life threatening cardiac arrest and also for specialist cardiac investigative procedures to determine, treat and manage lower risk heart conditions and less severe heart attacks.

Dr Barclay added: “These laboratories will carry out all emergency and planned cardiac surgery as well as the specialist cardiac diagnostic services used to monitor and diagnose conditions.

“We will start treating people in the new labs from next week and we hope to be fully operational using both labs simultaneously by spring. The new labs will improve patient experience and eventually increase the numbers of patients who can be treated and in a more timely way. It will also reduce the patients that need to be transferred to the north east because we are now able to carry out even more complex procedures here.

“We will now be able to carry out more complex procedures here now instead of referring some patients to the north east. We are also developing a larger radial lounge in the area where the previous lab was, which will be a dedicated and far improved space for people to recover after their investigations.”

Interesting facts about the heart centre:

·       All patients across north Cumbria who need emergency treatment for a severe heart attack or who need specialist cardiac treatment are supported by The Heart Centre based at the Cumberland Infirmary.

·       More than 2000 procedures (both planned and emergency) are carried out each year in The Heart Centre (the new labs mean this figure is expected to increase).

·       Prior to the specialist service being in the county in 2011 all patients had to travel to Newcastle or Middlesbrough for treatment.

·       The new labs means that we can now bring even more specialisms to the county and prevent people travelling out of county for treatment.


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