Members of the community say they are ‘horrified’ by the closure of the cardiac rehabilitation service in Daventry and are calling for action.
The unit at Danetre hospital, set up in 2005 and funded by the National Lottery, closed on April 24 with those seeking help following a heart attack now travelling to Kettering.
Viv Crouch, who ran the service for five years before retiring, is extremely disappointed by the closure.
She said: “I feel really gutted, it was a vital service.
“After people have a heart attack they have lots of questions, they don’t know how far they can push their bodies or what they can eat. Their families are frightened too.
“Mentally people need help to deal with the shock of what has happened to them.”
As well as emotional support Mrs Crouch worked with patients in the gym and with healthy eating to aid recovery.
Former service user Jackie Green from Long Buckby said she needed the service when she had a heart attack at 56.
She said: “I was referred to the service six years ago and it was a blessing in disguise because the thought of having to travel to Kettering is awful. When you have a “heart event” the last thing you need is to travel miles for treatment.”
Ms Green added: “We need to bring the service back. I’m backing this campaign because people need to know what happened, that the service has been swept away.”
John Evans, who suffered from coronary heart disease, said he was horrified and saddened to learn of the closure.
He said: “Reversing the decision will be difficult but I feel strongly that the people of the district should be made aware of what’s happened.”
A spokesman for the NHS’s Nene Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The service was originally funded as a pilot scheme by the British Heart Foundation for the rural Daventry area. This involved a specialist nurse offering clinics.
“The service was transferred to Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust along with NHS Northamptonshire (the former primary care trust). When the British Heart Foundation funding ended, it became part of the ongoing business of the trust.
“In its review of services the PCT noted that the service specification for cardiac rehabilitation was duplicated in the contract with Northampton General Hospital which follows the national payment by results specification. The decision was therefore, to bring all cardiac services in the county into line with the national specification and to be provided by the two acute hospitals in Kettering and Northampton. This was implemented in April 2013 with the duplicate NHFT service being discontinued.
“As a clinical commissioning group, Nene CCG is reviewing the provision of planned care including cardiac rehabilitation.
“A specification has been developed to enhance cardiac rehabilitation and we are talking to providers about implementation plans.
“Additionally, Nene CCG has another project looking at increasing the support for cardiac patients from primary care. This includes 20 general practitioners being accredited to offer enhanced cardiology services, five of whom are in the South Northants area and this service is available to all patients across the county.”
Mrs Crouch hopes to have a meeting with Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris at the iCon in August at the future of the service. She said: “We hope to work out a plan of action at the meeting. It’s got to be a meeting of people power, pressure and coming up with good ideas about what we can do next.”