PERFORMANCE: The number of people dying of heart attacks in Medway has fallen by 77 per cent over the last two decades, according to latest public health data.

In 1993 there were 287 deaths from heart attack in Medway. In 2011, there were 67. That is a drop in deaths of 77 per cent, according to Kent and Medway Public Health Observatory statistics.

Dr Alison Barnett, director of public health for Medway, said: “This is a real success story for the NHS in Kent and Medway.”

It is a combination of prevention and of improved treatment for people who do have a heart attack, she added.

“The gold-standard treatment provided for people from Kent and Medway at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, which unblocks the artery while the heart attack is still ongoing, opens up the oxygen supply to the heart muscle, reducing damage and saving lives,” she said.

“Cardiac rehab is also an important part of recovery for patients who have had a heart attack – it offers exercise sessions, talks about looking after your heart and a phone number to call with your concerns.”

Ambulance crews carry out ECGs, which are sent to the specialist centre at William Harvey, provided by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, where arterial stenting may then be carried out.

The specialist centre at William Harvey Hospital opened on 12 April 2010 and has treated 1,109 patients to date.