The first responder who saw one of his employees saved by a cardiac machine being piloted in the Borders has backed it being rolled out nationally.
Neil Redpath saw first hand how the mobile machine, which has been trialled by paramedics in the region, detected that 50-year-old Martin Hall of Duns was having a heart attack rather than angina after he collapsed last month.
And he says it meant Mr Hall was off work for only two weeks - and more importantly survived.
Mr Redpath, a manager a Redpath Tyres in Duns, said: “I kept him going until the ambulance arrived and the paramedics were able to take a blood sample and analyse it in 20 minutes. In that time, it showed he was having a heart attack and was taken to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh straight away.
“The last time he had a heart attack in 2011, Martin was taken to the Borders General Hospital and had to be analysed there before being rushed to Edinburgh. On that occasion, Martin was off work for two months.
“It takes approximately 20 minutes for the machine to come up with its results, and that is why it has not been used in the cities yet, as in that time the ambulance will be at the hospital. But for a rural location such as the Borders it is perfect.”
The initiative is a partnership between Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), NHS Borders and Samsung.
SAS medical director, Professor George Crooks, says the scheme is currently in the evaluation stage but added that initial results were very encouraging and “demonstrate that such tests can be successfully undertaken by paramedics in ambulances”.
He added: “This is a unique collaboration that has resulted in technology, which was previously only available in the hospital setting, being moved closer to the patient with significant benefit to quality of care and clinical outcomes. The rapid onset of developments in mobile technology opens up incredible opportunities for the NHS in Scotland to find innovative ways of delivering care that will improve the patient experience and ultimately save more lives.”
Health Secretary, Alex Neil, said: “I want NHS Scotland to be at the forefront of new and innovative technologies such as this. Allowing clinicians to identify an appropriate course of treatment before the patient even arrives at hospital can be crucial. This is an excellent example of partnership working that is set to help even more patients and save lives.”
The pilot started in the Borders and has included over 100 patients presenting with cardiac chest pain. Ten emergency ambulances were equipped with the Samsung B10 analysers and 57 paramedics in the region were given special training.