Cardiac rehab

CR campaign

Thousands of people have a heart attack or bypass surgery every year. But how many get the life-saving cardiac rehabilitation they need to help their recovery?

According to the latest figures from the 2012 National Audit for cardiac rehabilitation just 44% of heart patients in England took part. In Wales, 37% took part and in Northern Ireland the figure was 41%. The Scottish Government funds its own audit and we’re waiting to see those results.

The findings were a slight improvement on last year’s figures but there’s still more to be done. We want to see an improvement in the quality of cardiac rehabilitation programmes and an increase in the uptake of rehabilitation, especially among patients with heart failure.

The National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation 2012 contains this year's top facts and statistics on cardiac rehabilitation.

The campaign around the UK


In England, 44% of heart attack, angioplasty and bypass patients received cardiac rehabilitation. A slight improvement on the uptake shown in last year's audit.

The Government has produced a commissioning pack, explaining how the NHS can improve their cardiac rehabilitation services for the benefit of heart patients, and what a great service should look like. We’ll be using this pack to improve services in England by helping promote it to commissioners.

And, along with NHS Improvement, we've developed a guide for heart patients called What should I expect from Cardiac rehabilitation? to help patients, their families and carers understand what they might expect from being involved in a cardiac rehabilitation programme - and to demand commissioners make improvements if their programme isn’t up to scratch.

If you want to campaign to improve cardiac rehabilitation services where you live we can help you with hints and tips. Get in touch with us at 


Just 37% of heart attack, bypass and angioplasty patients received cardiac rehabilitation in Wales during 2010-11 according to the latest audit figues. Figures haven’t really improved since previous years and far too many heart patient are not benefitting from this life-saving treatment.  

We need to maintain pressure on service delivery in Wales to ensure that CR becomes an integral part of the patient pathway and should be offered to every eligible heart patient. 

If you want to campaign to improve cardiac rehabilitation services where you live we can help you with hints and tips. Get in touch with us at

Northern Ireland

Our recent audit shows that 41% of heart attack, bypass and angioplasty patients are participating in cardiac rehabilitation; this is an encouraging 10% increase from last year. We’ll be sharing the results of the audit with local commissioners and also meeting with decision makers to improve the quality and uptake of cardiac rehab in Northern Ireland. 

If you want to campaign to improve cardiac rehabilitation services where you live we can help you with hints and tips. Get in touch with us at 


This year's audit only covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has an ongoing electronic audit, funded by the Government and we're currently waiting for the most recent results.
The Scottish Campaign is still ongoing, as there is action needed by the Government to ensure that NHS health boards have the resources they need to deliver accessible cardiac rehab to all those who need it.  

Anne-Marie's story

Ann MarieAnne-Marie was nervous after a triple bypass operation. She only had her family to help her.

"I felt like we were completely on our own and the health service didn’t know how to cater for me as I wasn't a normal patient for them. I fell through the cracks.

"I felt like when I left the hospital my husband was given a sick woman in a wheelchair and a big bag if pills and we were left to it. It was very disappointing.

"I remembered they mentioned cardiac rehab to me so I followed up to see if I could join a programme as I thought this could help me get back on my feet. But I was told I was on a waiting list and they would get back to me. When they finally did - 15 weeks after my operation - I was already back at work so couldn't attend the classes. I wasn’t offered any other alternative."

Joan's story

Joan LudbrookeJoan was offered the choice of hospital based cardiac rehabilitation or a home-based programme. Cardiac rehabilitation made a real difference to Joan's recovery and confidence.

"I’m a care worker and I was eager to get back to work, so I chose a home-based rehab programme. I could have attended a class in a hospital, but these were quite far away – I don’t drive. Home-based rehab suited me because I could do it in the evenings and in my own home.

"I was given an exercise DVD and my cardiac rehab nurse called me every week to check on how I was doing and answer any questions I might have. It was really great – every time I did the exercises they got a little bit easier and I felt myself getting more confident.

"After my cardiac rehab programme finished I kept up the good work using the DVD a few more times, but I also joined a cardiac club. We have meetings every month and there are weekly exercise classes I can attend which cover everything from swimming to Thai Chi and bowling!

"People that don’t get to participate in a cardiac rehab programme are missing out. I found the staff so supportive and encouraging and it gave me the confidence to exercise again."