Scottish heart patients need better support to rebuild lives - charity

22 October 2018, 06:23 | Updated: 22 October 2018, 06:25

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland

Opportunities are being missed to help people rebuild their lives after the diagnosis of a chest, heart or stroke condition, a charity says.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said around one in five are not accessing a full range of support services because they do not know what is available to them.

Its survey of more than 1,160 people with the conditions found two thirds wanted more access to services such as specialist nurses, therapists and social support groups.

The charity is calling on the Scottish Government to commit to supporting measures that would help people "live life to the full" after a diagnosis.

They include investment in physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists to match demand.

Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said too many people were struggling to cope with the impact of their condition.

She said: "Opportunities are being missed to support people to live life to the full and current services need to rise to the challenge.

"That's why we are urging the Scottish Government to commit to and invest in establishing a universal 'right to rehab' so everyone affected by these conditions can rebuild their lives.

"That means ending the variation in access to NHS rehabilitation services across the country, joining them up with community groups, investing in the right staff and making sure that everyone has access to a specialist nurse for as long as they need them."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We want everyone to receive the best possible care and treatment from our health and care services.

"Our strategy for tackling strokes and heart disease is delivering important improvements, with mortality rates reducing by around 40% for both stroke and coronary heart disease over the last 10 years.

"Pulmonary rehabilitation is already a key recommendation in our national clinical guidelines. We expect NHS boards to provide high quality care that is safe, effective, person-centred and respects patients' rights."