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New cross-border agreement to help heart-attack victims

People who suffer heart attacks in country NSW areas near the ACT will get faster access to potentially life-saving treatment, under an agreement between the NSW and ACT governments.

Under the deal – announced by ACT Health Minister Katy Gallagher and her NSW counterpart Jillian Skinner – NSW Ambulance paramedics treating heart attack patients will be able electronically transmit electrocardiogram (ECG) results to the Canberra Hospital emergency department.

This would enable rapid decisions to be made about what treatment should be provided in the ambulance and at the hospital.

ACT Ambulances are already able transmit ECG information to the hospital.

"These arrangements mean patients, on the way to hospital, are receiving life-saving expert attention even more quickly," Ms Gallagher said.

Under a separate agreement to run for five years, renal services run jointly by the ACT Health Directorate and the Southern New South Wales Local Health District would be extended.

A joint service which included dialysis and post-transplant care was already operating in Queanbeyan, Cooma, and Goulburn. It would be extended to Moruya and Bega.

Ms Gallagher said the agreements had been reached after she and Mrs Skinner had held a meeting at which they discussed the importance of ensuring patients in NSW and the ACT had access to the health services they needed.

"We knew that patients coming from around the region don't care about lines on a map or frankly who runs health services," Ms Gallagher said.

"All they want is to get treated at the best place they can, most appropriate to their condition. At times that will mean the hospital's in southern NSW provide that carer at other times it means transfer to Canberra. "

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