Heart scanner still a vital piece of kit

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I am writing regarding the story that appeared in last week’s Herald (‘Confusion over £87,000 heart scanner decision’).

It involved the purchase of a new echocardiography machine from a kind donation by the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals to help enhance the excellent cardiology service we provide at the hospital.

The article implied the Trust was wrong to use the donation in this way due to a recent decision by our commissioners, NHS Sussex, to change the way we deliver the pPCI service across East Sussex.

It is true that NHS Sussex, having reviewed the service across the whole of Sussex and assessed the national and local clinical evidence, have decided to commission this pPCI service from the Conquest Hospital in Hastings from April 1 2012.

These patients are clearly very ill and in urgent need of lifesaving care and treatment.However, this service makes up a relatively small part of the overall treatment and care for patients with heart disease at the DGH.

To put it in perspective, last year we treated several hundred patients per week in our cardiology department, a handful of whom required pPCI treatment.

It is therefore only right we continue to enhance and develop the cardiology service at the DGH for our local community.

The new heart scanner will help with the investigation and treatment of a number of heart conditions, including valvular disease, heart failure and congenital heart disease. Services for these conditions will continue to be available at the DGH.

We are extremely grateful to the generosity of the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals and to those members of the public who have donated money to them.

Their latest donation will make a big difference to our patients and any future donations to the cardiology department will continue to be used to further enhance our excellent service.

I want to make it clear that we are rightfully proud of the cardiology services provided at the DGH and this will continue to be the case in the future.

Darren Grayson

Chief Executive, Eastbourne District General Hospital