...Making life better for Yorkshire Heart Patients

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The Annual General Meeting of Take Heart was held in the Lecture Theatre, Clarendon Wing at Leeds General Infirmary on 8th June 2009.

The chairman, Colin Pullan, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and in particular the guest speakers for the evening, Maggie Boyle, Chief Executive of Leeds Hospital Trust, Dr Greg Reynolds, Consultant Cardiologist, Mr Philip Kay, Consultant Cardio Thoracic Surgeon and Stacey Hunter, Directorate Manager, Cardiology and Respitory.

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Colin detailed some of the projects undertaken by Take Heart over the last year. He welcomed two new Trustees to the board, Gina McGawley and Dr Peter McParlin. All trustees were introduced to the meeting and those eligible for re-election were duly elected.

Mr Alec McLean, the treasurer, went through the income and expenditure of the charity for the last year and expressed concern that, due to the downturn of the economy, donations showed signs of decline. He also pointed to the fact that the interest on the accounts last year were in excess of £9000 but this year, would struggle to meet £1000. The annual sponsored walk in Roundhay Park this year raised over £11,000 but did not really meet our expectations of a huge turnout to celebrate the 20th anniversary. However, the amount raised was gratifying. The total funds in accounts at present total £247,031.00.

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Maggie Boyle then spoke to express pleasure in endorsing Colin's report. Then gave thanks for the difference made to the Yorkshire Heart Centre by Take Heart. She was pleased to attend the AGM since she found it difficult to get out of her office and it was gratifying to listen to the comments made about the charity. She felt a sense of 'family' within the charity - everyone knew each other and there was also a professional air in the administration. She expressed appreciation of the frugal expenses taken in the running of the charity and, to laughter, said "unlike some other organisatons at the moment." She gave a very personal thank you to Take Heart as well as thanks from the Trust for all the work that has been done over the last twenty years.

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Dr Greg Reynolds opened his talk by explaining the new Atrial Fibrillation Clinic operating in LGI sponsored by the British Heart Foundation. Locally, this service's work could prevent around 8 - 12 strokes p.a. If adopted nationally, 3800 - 7000 strokes could be prevented. Dr Reynolds also detailed the exciting new technology around Aortic Valve Replacement - something unthinkable just a few years ago.
He then paid tribute to Take Heart and in particular, Colin Pullan - he hoped that Colin would still be raising money for the next twenty years!

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Mr Philip Kay then came to the rostrum to talk about his work, his involvement with Take Heart and the difference which the charity has made to the Yorkshire Heart Centre. Mr Kay has been involved with Take Heart since its inception and indeed, the very first donation by the charity to the hospital was an exercise bicycle which Colin presented to him. He said he has been proud to support Take Heart over the years and confirmed that the work of Take Heart has made life better for patients and staff of the Centre. He has been operating on heart patients since 1980 and has performed more than 6000 operations. With all the preventative work being undertaken now, he reckons that he may in the future be regarded as some sort of dinosaur - "What? You made a one foot incision in the patient's chest? - Then you made a three feet incision in the patient's leg? - then you stopped the heart beating?" But until something new comes along, he will continue and is very proud of the work he has done. (and rightly so - I am one of the recipients of his expertise! Author)

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Stacey Hunter was the last speaker and briefly outlined some of the work being done by the Yorkshire Heart Centre. Some National Standards in the Cardiology Service were given - for example:

  • 6 weeks maximum for diagnostic tests - Over 80% of tests done in LGI Cardiology are provided with a maximum wait of 2 weeks.

  • Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinics (14 days) - LGI have achieved this standard for the last 5 years

  • Referral to treatment - 18 weeks. Cardiology have achieved 96.6% for admitted patients against a standard of 90% and 99.3% for Non-Admitted patients against a standard of 95%

  • MRSA infections - LGI have not had any on the Cardiology wards since July 2008

  • Primary Angioplasty for Heart Attack Patients - delivering this service to over 95% of patients having a heart attack in West Yorkshire.

Stacey outlined some new things in the Yorkshire Heart Centre over the last 12 months.

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implant (TAVI) programme. One of only 4 designated centres in the UK

  • Primary PCI programme for Heart Attack patients now provides for all patients in West Yorkshire (includes York and Harrogate)

  • Introduced One Stop Clinic for patients with complex heart failurte

  • Developed new Rapid Access Clinics for patients with Atrial Fibrillation - led by Clinical Nurse Specialists. They also are working in partnership with GPs and practice nurses to provide support, education and training for these patients. The team has won 2 awards for this service in the last 12 months - one national and one local.

  • Cardiology Wards all taken part in the Productive Ward - releasing time to care programme.

  • Cardiac Rehab nurses have designed a new pre-admission clinic for patients who are coming into hospital for Angioplasty (PCI). This is due to commence in July 2009.

  • Single Sex Wards - have made some changes to the Cardiology wards to provide single sex accommodation for patients (Wards 16 and 18.) Still some further work to do on Wards 11 and 19 to achieve this - will be completed over next 2 - 3 months.

  • Commenced MRSA screening programme for all elective patients who are due to come into hospital. Work ongoing to do the same for all patients over the rest of this year.

Finally, Stacey came to Take Heart and pointed to the fact that it started in 1989 and has raised over two million pounds. She expressed admiration for the trustees of the charity and in particular, Colin Pullan who has given 20 years of dedication.
She expressed her gratitude for the projects undertaken in 2008/9 which included:

  • Refurbishing the Cardiac Investigation Unit at LGI

  • Improving the Cardiology outpatients department at St James Hospital

  • Proding a new nurses station on Ward 18

  • Providing multiple new ECG machines for the wards and departments

  • Providing new furniture and improvements for staff rooms across the department

  • Providing new furniture and seating for patients in wards and departments

  • Refurbishing theRelatives suites and the Staff Rooms in Cardiac Intensive Care (Wards 5 and 7)

A common cry from other departments in the hospital was "Why can't we have a Good Fairy like Take Heart!"

Stacey then called on the Chief Executive, Maggie Boyle, to make a small presentation to Colin on behalf of the hospital.

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Bill Stevenson, Trustee