Retired nurse fears for cardiac rehab unit

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THE nurse who set up Danetre Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation centre fears the service could be scrapped at the end of next month.

Viv Crouch told the Daventry Express that since she retired last November the centre has reduced its treatment time from 45 hours per week down to 18.

And now she is worried the rehab service, which helps around 300 patients every year, could be closed down altogether.

But NHS Northamptonshire has said cardiac rehabilitation services will continue to operate for 22.5 hours in the area.

Mrs Crouch, from Weedon, set up the lottery-funded centre in 2005. It’s one of only 36 in the country and offers people with heart problems a gym programme, support group and one-to-one health talks following discharge from hospital.

She has now started a petition to keep it open and said: “It would be terrible to lose this service and I know a lot of people who are very concerned. I retired last year and my former admin assistant also retired in December. There is a replacement nurse but her contract only runs until March so what will happen then?

“I’ve had letters back from ministers and MPs but no real answers and I’m very worried that the service could be stopped altogether.”

One patient currently using the centre is Norman Wilkerson, who underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery two and a half years ago.

Mr Wilkerson, 68, from Trinity Close in Daventry, said: “The rehabilitation and gym work has given me a lot of confidence to go out and do gardening and DIY which I hadn’t done for a long time.

“Now that the service has been scaled down it isn’t as good, and if we lose it altogether it will be such a shame because it’s a great unit.”

A spokesman for NHS Northamptonshire said: “Following the retirement of the cardiac rehabilitation nurse, interim arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the cardiac rehabilitation service continues to be commissioned within the rural area of Daventry and South Northamptonshire for 22.5 nursing hours per week.”