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Man who had heart attack ‘shocked’ to discover he could not be treated at new £350 million trauma centre

18 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Tony Burnett with his wife, Sue

Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter

A Cwmbran man who went to Gwent’s new £350 million trauma centre after suffering a life-threatening heart attack has raised concerns after he was taken to a completely different hospital for treatment.

Tony Burnett, of Fields Road, Oakfield, was taken to Grange University Hospital by his wife, Sue, after experiencing chest pains last Monday evening, March 7.

After being assessed it was determined Mr Burnett had suffered a heart attack, and he was taken to the resuscitation department. But Mr Burnett was surprised when he was then taken by ambulance to Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales for further care.

The £350 million Grange University Hospital opened in late 2020 and is the designated trauma centre for Gwent – meaning it is equipped to deal with the most life-threatening incidents.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board says Mr Burnett was taken to Cardiff due to a regional agreement in place for patients presenting with heart conditions outside of daytime hours.

Mr Burnett, 68, said he was ‘shocked’ to discover that he could not be cared for at the Grange.

“I said to one of the nurses (in Cardiff), why did they send me here?” he said.

“They said it’s for better treatment. But I was in a multi-million pound, purpose-built trauma unit and they are sending me to another hospital for better treatment.

“It beggars belief.”

‘Could have lost him’

Mr Burnett’s brother, Ron, who is a Torfaen county borough councillor, says he has contacted the leader of the council, Cllr Anthony Hunt, about the incident.

He said the family was particularly concerned as two of his brothers, Kenneth and Vince,  and his sister, Catherine, have died since August last year.

“No apology is acceptable, it should not have happened,” he said.

“Anybody should be able to go there and be assessed and not sent to another hospital.

“In between the two hospitals we could have lost him and we could have been burying another brother.

“It should never have happened.”

Mrs Burnett has also raised concerns over a “lack of assistance” which she received after arriving at The Grange hospital.

She says while her husband was “doubled up in pain” in the car, help was not forthcoming.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We’re sorry that Mr Burnett was unhappy with the care that he received.

“Mr Burnett was triaged at The Grange University Hospital and was taken straight to the resuscitation department without delay.

“He was then transferred to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff – the regional centre for cardiology care – in order for him to receive the very best care for his condition.

“This is a regional agreement that has been in place for many years for patients presenting with heart conditions outside daytime hours, so that no matter what time a patient presents at the emergency department, they will receive appropriate specialist care.”


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
6 months ago

This is normal practice worldwide that likely he had a type of heart attack called a STEMI and required angioplasty to open his coronary arteries. It is not possibly to have that level of cardiology on every site so rapid transfer arrangements are in existence. His treatment sounds exemplary to me. Exactly the same happens in England. The one thing I would say is that with his family history perhaps he could have had his risk factors assessed on a planned basis before he had a heart attack with corrective stents or surgery as a planned procedure.

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