Call for more cardiac rehab

The CSP is backing a national campaign to improve access to cardiac rehabilitation. The British Heart Foundation held a lobby outside parliament last month as part of a campaign to end the postcode lottery in access to services.

BHF research revealed that only one in seven heart patients currently receives the treatment, which costs less than £600 a patient. There are around 400 cardiac rehab programmes in the UK. The CSP is therefore calling for more investment in rehabilitation services. Liz Cavan, CSP chair of Council, said: 'Physiotherapy is integral to cardiac rehabilitation, using exercise training, education and counselling to cut cardiac mortality by 27 per cent. However, the BHF survey found that only a tiny fraction of the 66,000 people newly diagnosed with heart failure and practically none of the 345,000 new cases of angina each year will receive rehabilitation.' Professor Bob Lewin, a cardiac rehab specialist at the University of York, who is working with the BHF on the campaign, said physios could help by collecting data on the provision of services to show where there was a shortage. This can be fed into the National Cardiac Rehabilitation Audit project (see website), supported by BHF. He also called for physios to sign up to the charity's online petition, which sends an email to MPs saying cardiac rehab is grossly underfunded, as well as to help some of the 300 patient support groups in planning regional campaigns. 'It's a massive job to ensure everyone who needs it gets cardiac rehab,' he said, adding that despite £5 billion of government funding for cardiac surgery in the last five years, there had been no significant investment into rehab since the 2002 national service framework for coronary heart disease recommended that 85 per cent of heart patients were invited onto a programme. 'Physios should get angry and demonstrate. Cardiac rehab has been languishing in the doldrums,' he added. FURTHER
Louise Hunt

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