Top heart doctor starts charity to fund patient care

CONCERN at the lack of specialist care for heart disease patients has prompted a Warwick Hospital consultant to set up a charity.

Dr Najmi Qureshi and colleagues at the Lakin Road site this week launched the South Warwickshire Heart Failure Education and Rehabilitation Trust to raise £200,000 a year to pay for four specialist nurses and support staff to look after patients who have suffered heart attacks or undergone surgery.

She said: “Heart disease causes more deaths than cancer. It’s a major killer and we know that good rehabilitation for our patients vastly improves their quality of life.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although Dr Qureshi’s team already includes two specialist nurses, she said they are struggling to cope with the workload, adding: “If patients are managed properly and we are able to intervene early, we can reduce hospital admissions and facilitate early discharge from hospital, which will improve the quality of life for our patients and save the NHS money.”

The new charity has taken on television presenter and cookery writer Sally Bee, who lives in Stratford, as its head fundraiser and events organiser.

In 2006 at the age of 36, the mother-of-three had three heart attacks in one week which brought her close to death. She was told that it had been a ‘spontaneous coronary artery dissection’, where the left valve of her heart had unravelled and collapsed, causing her heart to bleed and preventing it from receiving oxygen.

Luckily she was given cardiac rehabilitation - and it made all the difference.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “I was able to talk to other people who had undergone a similar experience, start exercising in a safe environment which gave me confidence to try at home and I learnt about my medication - you never have time to ask your cardiologist about this.

“Basically, I learnt how to stop surviving and start living again.”

As well as raising funds for the nurses, the charity aims to provide education about heart conditions and to ensure that heart rehabilitation is available to every patient in south Warwickshire who would benefit.