It began with just £50, an exercise bike and just five members. Now, 28 years later, the Milton Keynes Community Cardiac Group has more than 400 members who attend rehabilitation programmes.
Gill Robinson, a former Health Promotion Specialist, wanted to develop rehabilitation for patients with heart conditions out in the community and set up the cardiac group, and last week Mark Lancaster MP popped to a session to see its work for himself.
Group members are able to enhance their standard of fitness, physical health and mental health.
“The group is clearly a happy, jolly place and it was so good to see the physical and mental benefits the members were getting out of their exercising,” Mark said.
“Its success is an exemplar for across the country which we should be celebrating and promoting.
“The National Health Service is under great financial pressure these days and this is an advancement in the care and rehabilitation of people with heart and breathing problems that effectively keeps people out of hospital.”
The concentrated efforts of the specifically qualified health professionals and exercise teachers, and trained volunteers give the individual a better opportunity to return to work, prolong their independence and reduce the number of visits to the GP.
In addition to the group’s valuable work, members are likely to decrease their numbers of stays in hospital and have a reduced reliance on social care.
“Without the group, I’d still be shuffling along and struggling with everyday activities, just trying to get up in the mornings, let alone trying to get dressed,” said one of the younger members.
“It was a black hole but it’s a lot easier with the help and dedication from the group. I’m more confident and have more stamina. I still have a way to go but life looks better than I ever thought possible.”