This programme at University College Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital (now University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) was begun with the collaboration of the Physiotherapy Department. The initial years were not funded and Dr Walker provided the support for staff salaries from charitable funds. Subsequently the critical importance of cardiovascular rehabilitation as an essential component of cardiovascular care became increasingly recognised (chapter 6 National Service Framework for Cardiovascular Diseases, 2001) and the Cardiovascular Health & Rehabilitation Service became an integral, fully funded, part of the Cardiac Services Directorate at University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, with close links to local community service providers.
This service now has a staff of six housed in a bespoke facility on the ground floor of the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute in Chenies Mews. It has received recognition as an innovative service and Dr Walker remains involved as the Consultant Lead for this important and often neglected field of cardiovascular medicine.
CV health handles the rehabilitation needs of over 1,000 patients per month, with in-house rehabilitation being undertaken for more than 400 patients per year.
The patient groups have been expanded from the traditional individuals who are offered rehabilitation after an acute event, to include those with severe heart failure, congenital heart disease and those at risk of future cardiovascular conditions.
Although many patients are referred from the wards at University College Hospital and the Heart hospital, the centre provides direct access for referrals from local primary care practices. A unique and very popular model for cardiovascular rehabilitation services. The service was awarded the Queen’s Nursing Award in 2009 and been given Beacon Status for its innovative programmes, by the Care Quality Commission.