Petition for better cardiac rehabilitation access

Jennifer and Gareth Bayliss
Jennifer Bayliss started a petition after husband Gareth was diagnosed with heart failure [BBC]

The wife of a man who was diagnosed with heart failure has started a petition to make cardiac rehabilitation services more widely available throughout the UK.

When Gareth Bayliss, from Shipston-on-Stour, was diagnosed last year aged 37, rehabilitation services at Warwick Hospital were only offered to patients who had suffered cardiac arrest.

South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust said it had secured 12 months of funding to now start a heart failure rehabilitation service.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said NHS England had committed to improving care for people with cardiovascular disease, including increased access to rehabilitation services.

Mr Bayliss was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in August and started cardiac rehabilitation two weeks ago.

He said there was initial talk "when we left hospital the first time about potential things going forward such as cardiac MRI, cardiac rehabilitation".

But Mr Bayliss added: "This has taken almost eight months to get at least one of those things, which we unfortunately had to sort of source for ourselves. It wasn't something that Warwick was suggesting."

'So important'

At the time of his diagnosis, Warwick Hospital offered cardiac rehabilitation but only for cardiac arrest and heart attack patients.

It has led his wife, Jennifer Bayliss, to start a petition, which she said had reached more than 54,000 signatures.

She said: "The after care is so important and the petition... was to mandate all NHS trusts to do cardiac rehabilitation for all heart failure patients regardless of age, gender and also what their heart function is."

The trust said its cardiology department had recently secured the 12 months of funding from NHS England, following a successful bid.

It was in the process of recruiting staff to deliver this service, it added.

A statement said following a successful recruitment, the aim was to offer an "individualised weekly group exercise programme for stable, newly diagnosed heart failure patients".

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