Heart Diseases: Health Services

Health written question – answered on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Phil Willis Phil Willis Chair, Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what plans his Department has to co-ordinate local NHS trusts' cardiac rehabilitation programmes;

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to assist local NHS trusts to meet the target for the availability of cardiac rehabilitation services set out in the National Service Framework 2003.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

Cardiac rehabilitation is an evidence based, cost effective and life saving treatment, delivered by nurses and professionals allied to medicine. At best, it is multi-disciplinary, helping with the medical, behavioural, psychological and social restoration of the whole patient. Nurses and physiotherapists have key roles to play but others such as pharmacists, dieticians and psychologists should also be involved.

Chapter seven of the Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework, published in March 2000, issued appropriate guidance to the national health service about the provision of cardiac rehabilitation services. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline 48, "MI: secondary prevention" was subsequently issued in May 2007. This provided updated guidance to the NHS on secondary prevention in primary and secondary care for patients following heart attack and emphasised the importance of rehabilitation for these patients.

The Heart Improvement programme, an NHS support team for cardiac networks, includes cardiac rehabilitation within its work programme. A new National Cardiac Rehabilitation Audit has been introduced across England, jointly sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and the Healthcare Commission. This will provide stronger evidence on effectiveness and encourage providers to appraise and improve their cardiac rehabilitation services.

Putting guidance into practice is a matter for the NHS, working in partnership with stakeholders, including cardiac networks, and the local community. It is the responsibility of NHS organisations to plan and develop services based on their specific knowledge and expertise.

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