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It is time to rethink cardiac rehab programmes for women

Nurses can drive the changes needed, says British Heart Foundation nurse Philippa Hobson

Nurses can drive the changes needed to tackle gender inequality in this area of care, says British Heart Foundation nurse Philippa Hobson

Women are less likely than men to attend cardiac rehabilitation – that’s something we have known for years.

Prior commitments such as childcare and work-related issues, as well as feeling uncomfortable in what is seen as a predominantly male environment, have made it more likely that women will pass up on this life-saving heart aftercare.

Some women from ethnic minority backgrounds may also be deterred from attending cardiac rehab by language barriers and cultural traditions.

The British Heart Foundation’s most recent annual national audit report on cardiac rehabilitation suggests that the problem is intensifying. Only 43% of all female patients being referred for cardiac rehab in England take it up, down one percentage point from the previous year.


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