A new report from the British Heart Foundation has found that thousands of women are missing out on care and support after being treated for a severe heart problem. This could be putting them at risk of suffering further incidents.
The National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR), which looked at national cardiac rehabilitation services, revealed that thousands of women are missing out on treatment.
The analysis, commissioned by the British Heart Foundation, found that more than 24,000 female heart patients are not being offered rehabilitation services.
According to the research, just 14,000 female heart patients are involved in some cardiac rehabilitation out of a possible 38,500 women who are eligible. This means that around one in three (38 per cent) females who suffer a heart attack, angioplasty or bypass surgery receive the aftercare they need.
Despite the government introducing targets of 65 per cent, overall just 47 per cent of the 122,000 male and female heart patients eligible get this level of rehabilitation.
However, the NACR highlights a particular need when it comes to admitting female heart patients. To match male uptake, there would need to be an additional 5,500 women taking part in the services.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It is appalling that less than half of eligible female heart patients receive cardiac rehabilitation. Thousands of women are missing out on a vital step in their recovery, increasing their risk of another heart attack.
“That’s why health services urgently need to make rehabilitation more accessible to women, who are either not referred or are put off attending, to help save more lives.”
The analysis looked at 164 centres in England, as well as centres in Wales and Northern Ireland, and was conducted by the University of York.
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