Delays put South Asian communities at heart attack risk

Delays put South Asian communities at heart attack risk

Over 55’s in South Asian communities are at risk of damage from a heart attack by failing to call 999 straight away when they have chest pain, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A new BHF survey (1) revealed today that four in five South Asians over 55 would not phone 999 first if they experienced central chest pain, even though they are one of the groups at highest risk of a heart attack.

To encourage South Asians to call 999 immediately, the BHF has launched a new campaign that includes TV and radio advertisements in South Asian languages, as well as phone-ins with South Asian GPs.

South Asian GP Dr Ken Aswani, who features in the TV advertisements, is supporting the BHF’s campaign to call 999. He says:

“It’s vital that South Asians call 999 straight away, instead of calling their GP or a relative. Any delay in receiving emergency treatment can lead to more heart damage, or even prove fatal.

“If you’re in doubt, call 999.”

According to the BHF survey, two thirds of South Asians over 55 could be using up vital life-saving minutes by preferring to phone their GP first (2). The main reasons for this are:
• two thirds (63 percent) see their GP as an expert
• a quarter (24 percent) don’t want an ambulance to come
• one in five (20 percent) want to speak to their GP in their own language

BHF Ethnic Strategy Coordinator Qaim Zaidi says:

“Ambulance services are experts at getting you the help you need straight away, and calling 999 also gives you access to language translation services.

“If a friend or family is experiencing chest pain, calling 999 straight away is the best way to ensure they get the urgent help they need and prevent long-term heart damage.”

For more information on the symptoms of a heart attack, or to watch the TV advertisement in South Asian languages, visit bhf.org.uk/doubtkills

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