The National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease recommended in 2000 that cardiac rehabilitation (CR) should be offered to 85% of patients recovering from myocardial infarction or revascularisation. This target is a long way from being met.
Provision of CR might be improved by addressing the problems met by CR coordinators. This study, through a questionnaire and more detailed surveys of CR coordinator experiences, set out to identify these problems. CR coordinators’ problems were canvassed in the 2001/2 Annual Survey of CR programmes in the UK and their responses were compared with figures from the same survey and from surveys from the North West and the South East Regions of England. We found their main problems included lack of money (87%), lack of staff (90%), lack of space (74%), lack of sessions (74%), failure of referral of heart failure patients (66%), attendance problems (71%) and waiting lists (55%). All of these perceived problems were confirmed by the figures from at least one of the surveys – and, in most cases, by two or three of the surveys.
These findings point to measures for improving CR provision. These include proper funding on a cost per patient basis, the provision of adequate space and the better use of information technology.
For UK healthcare professionals only