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A New Acute Chest Pain Assessment Unit

The Renfrewshire Development Programme is testing a new model of service for patients with chest pain which aims to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Chest pain remains one of the most common reasons for admission to hospital and at the RAH they see more than 3000 patients every year who come to the hospital as an emergency with chest pain.

Many of these patients will not actually have heart problems but at the moment it can take up to 12 hrs before the appropriate assessments are completed to rule this out.

As such for many patients this will require an overnight stay in hospital and naturally this waiting period can be a stressful time for both patients and their families.

Our new Chest Pain Assessment Unit is staffed by specialist cardiology nurses, with support from senior cardiologists. The aim of the unit is to streamline the journey for patients in whom the diagnosis is not clear and ensure specialist cardiology input into their care at the very earliest opportunity when present at the RAH. The targeting of patients with a low likelihood, and more importantly low risk of complications from a possible heart attack, will allow a diagnosis to be made more quickly. This means that patients without heart problems can be back home much sooner than is currently the case and do not need to be admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

Furthermore for those who require ‘follow up’ the dedicated staff in the new unit can have these tests carried out either the same day or arrange for return the next day thus enabling earlier treatment if the patients needs it.