Patients in the Northern Sydney Central Coast area in Australia will receive a greater level of access to cardiac treatment for rural and regional patients, the government has announced.

Around-the-clock access to catheterisation will now be offered to patients admitted in an emergency department with symptoms of acute heart attack, the government said.

The lifesaving treatment was previously available only to those living within an hour of a metropolitan cardiac service.

The new policy is an important achievement for the Central Coast Area Health Service’s clinical network programme that was drawn up by senior clinicians, Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service’s director of cardiovascular services Brendan Gunalingam said.