Heart patients in Wales missing out on recovery help

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Media captionRobin Williams, who has had a quadruple bypass, says his cardiac rehabilitation has extended his life

Five thousand Welsh patients are missing out on vital services that could help them recover from cardiac problems, new figures reveal.

Just 38% of patients who have a heart attack, angioplasty or bypass surgery receive cardiac rehabilitation, says the British Heart Foundation Cymru.

Nearly 8,000 patients in Wales were eligible for rehabilitation in 2012-13, but just 3,000 of those took part.

Uptake of the recovery services in Wales is lower than England at 46%.

Cardiac rehabilitation offers lifestyle advice and support, including diet and exercise.

It helps people living with heart disease to manage their condition and reduce the risk of repeat attacks.

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Image caption Nearly 8,000 patients in Wales were eligible for cardiac rehab in 2012-13

Speaking about the report published on Monday, Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Uptake of cardiac rehabilitation has fallen since the first report seven years ago.

"Thousands of heart patients in Wales are missing out on lifesaving rehabilitation.

"We have been warning health services about this uptake issue for years, but we aren't seeing sufficient progress."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We are working with health boards to ensure their local plans improve patients' access to, and participation in, rehabilitation services."

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