Sunday 8th July 1990 Sunday morning 11.30
“Listen to this, Daphne: Crushing, central chest pain? Breathless? Sweating? Don’t panic! A suspected, heart attack is no longer a medical emergency. Ring 999 . . . then, sit down, put your feet up and relax. Have a hot drink.”
“What are you talking about, Desmond?” Mum did not like being disturbed when she was reading the Sunday supplement.
“It’s one of Tony Copperfield’s reports,“ Dad continued. “He is writing for the Western Mail, now. I’ll read it to you:
This week, Terry Thompson, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service announced that a new call classification system is being adopted across Wales. The old fashioned Category A calls are being abolished. Patients with acute, severe chest pain will now be designated as AMBER. Our drivers no longer have to battle to reach the patient in 8 minutes, Mr Thompson said. He expects it to take a huge amount of pressure off his staff.”
Mum knew there was no point in trying to carry on reading her magazine.
“Apparently, there won’t be a specific target time for AMBER calls. They will be decided on a ‘case by case’ basis.” Dad raised his eyebrows.
“Isn’t it quite difficult to tell if the patient is having a heart attack over the phone, Desmond?”
“Of course, Daphne. That’s why acute chest pain has always been a Category A call before.”
“Norman Needham, survivor of seven heart attacks, asked Mr Thompson what would happen to patients who had a cardiac arrest while they were waiting for an ambulance.
Don’t worry, Norman, Mr Thompson responded. Of course, if you have a cardiac arrest, we will upgrade your call classification to RED; as long as someone phones to tell us.”
“Well, at least that’s reassuring, Desmond.”