Have a Heart Appeal launched to raise £100,000 for Kettering General Hospital

The Evening Telegraph is today backing an appeal to raise £100,000 for a new heart unit at Kettering General Hospital.

Four thousand people are treated at the hospital every year, with the county having a higher than national average rate for heart disease.

The hospital has just opened its 4.7m cardiac care centre meaning more patients can be treated in Northamptonshire instead of being sent to Leicester for operations. And a further 1m is earmarked to move the coronary care unit.

But the quality of rehabilitation facilities for patients once they have been treated needs urgent improvement. That is where readers and the general public are urged to get involved.

Some of the 100,000 will be spent on creating a much-needed rehabilitation room so heart attack victims or patients with other coronary problems can be seen by specialist staff.

A private area will be created in the new centre so patients can be given advice in private.

And a special room for relatives will be made available instead of them having to sit in the nurses' staff room.

Evidence shows that good quality rehabilitation helps to save heart patients' lives.

The appeal was launched with a sponsored swimathon at the Nene Centre in Thrapston on Saturday. Dozens of swimmers, including pupils from King John School, took the plunge.

Hospital fundraiser Clare Coltman said: "We know raising 100,000 is going to be a challenge but the people of Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire have been so supportive of appeals in the past.

"This appeal is so relevant to local people because so many of us are affected or touched by heart problems. Helping us to raise this money will have an enormous impact on the lives of cardiac patients and their families."

Coronary heart disease accounts for one in five deaths in the UK, killing more than 110,000 people in England alone every year. More than 1.4m people suffer from angina and every year 275,000 people have a heart attack.

Corby and Wellingborough have particularly poor records when it comes to heart disease, with people far more likely to die early due to heart disease than the national average.

Dr Naeem Shaukat, the consultant who is leading the development of cardiac services at the hospital, said: "We have a high risk population for coronary heart disease and high pockets of mortality.

"We have been pushing to develop cardiology through the cardiac centre."