Don’t hesitate – if you suspect heart attack, call 999

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Don’t hesitate – if you suspect heart attack, call 999

With the number of people in hospital with coronavirus now at less than half of those at the peak of the pandemic, people in Buckinghamshire are being reminded not to hesitate to use their NHS services if they suspect a medical emergency, such as a heart attack.

Nationally, there has been a steep drop in the numbers of people coming to hospital emergency departments with heart problems. The NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign is urging people to make sure they know the symptoms of a heart attack so they know when to seek urgent help.

The common symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain – the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak or lightheaded, or both
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety

Dr Raj Thakkar, Director for Planned Care and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Since the Covid-19 crisis we have noticed a significant number of patients staying at home, when they should be calling 999. If you notice chest pain, leading up to your jaw, neck arms and back or shortness of breath you must call 999 straight away. This could save your life.”

Dr Tina Kenny, Medical Director for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “No one should ignore the signs of a heart attack, but recently some people have delayed that vital call to 999.  We’d like to remind people that no one who needs our help is ever a burden to our services, and that every effort is being made to ensure patients with coronavirus are treated separately to those without it, to keep people as safe as possible.

“The risk from having a heart attack and delaying treatment is greater than the perceived risk of coronavirus infection. So please help us help you, by acting quickly to get the right treatment.”