Kettering General Hospital has won £305,000 in NHS funding to enable it to care for hundreds of extra cardiac patients every year.
The grant from NHS England will go towards a plan to improve care for more than 300 additional cardiac patients annually.
These are patients who have pacemakers which ensure their heart rhythms are stabilised.
The hospital has not previously had the capacity to support these patients with their rehabilitation.
At the moment some 1,100 patients a year receive cardiac rehabilitation from KGH’s six-strong rehabilitation team after having had a heart attack. This currently includes one-to-one advice with specialist staff, risk assessment and rehabilitation exercise programmes at the hospital and at Waendel Leisure Centre in Wellingborough.
The new money will enable the trust to strengthen its existing team by adding four posts, including two nurses, provide additional patient information including heart manuals and DVDs for patients to use at home, and pay rent for additional community rehabilitation sessions at Waendel Leisure Centre, the Wesleyan Church Hall in Rushden, and Lodge Park Leisure Centre in Corby.
The hospital’s cardiac rehab clinical lead, Chika Obiechefu, said: “This is a major expansion to KGH’s cardiac rehabilitation service and it will have many benefits for patients.
“We are expanding rehabilitation care to patients with ICD or CRT pacemakers – these are high-tech devices that help to keep the heart beating at the right rhythm.
“This will bring some very significant benefits for the individual patients who often are feeling very anxious and frightened by their condition, and they can become depressed.
“Cardiac rehabilitation helps to restore their confidence and helps to improve their quality of life by enabling them to be active and enjoy exercising.”
It is also hoped that the expansion of the cardiac rehabilitation service will increase the uptake and completion of cardiac rehabilitation.
Cardio respiratory service manager Maxine White said: “By expanding the service we are able to offer rehabilitation in more locations closer to people’s homes and hope that the shorter journey time and local support will increase the number of people taking part in our rehabilitation programmes.
“This in turn should help us to reduce unplanned emergency hospital admissions – and research shows that cardiac rehabilitation can reduce this by 28 to 56 per cent.”
The programme will be developed in phases starting with the launch of the programme of using heart manuals and DVDs at home immediately. Further community exercise sessions in Corby start in November, with other ICD patients being invited for rehabilitation in the New Year.