Why cardiac rehabilitation is worth the investment

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the UK, with someone admitted to hospital every five minutes due to a heart attack. Jonathan Canham, London Hospital Director, explains how the cardiac rehabilitation programme at Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital can help.

Fortunately, cardiovascular disease survival rates continue to improve, with more than 70% of patients now surviving. The British Heart Foundation estimates there are around 1.4 million people living in the UK today who have survived a heart attack, and that number will continue to rise.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance recommends that patients who suffer a cardiac event should be given timely access to comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation. The British Heart Foundation considers cardiac rehabilitation vital for a patient’s long-term recovery – as important as taking medicine.


While the benefits of such rehabilitation are well documented from a health perspective, including reducing the risk of death and cutting hospital readmissions, there is yet to be a unified approach from providers and insurers do not cover rehabilitation as standard.

Providing access to rehabilitation programmes may seem an additional cost. However, the long-term effect of reducing hospital readmissions and improving the patient’s overall health and quality of life means it is actually more cost effective to provide rehabilitation than not to.

Timely, expert-led rehabilitation reduces the likelihood of patients taking further time off work or requiring more treatment in future, making it the clear choice for insurers and companies.

We’re proud that Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, part of the wider Nuffield Health charity, is pioneering a new end-to-end programme in London, providing rehabilitation across the entire patient pathway.

The programme offers support for anyone who has heart disease or is concerned they might be at risk of developing it. The team of specialist nurses, physiotherapists and exercise specialists support individuals to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours and regain physical fitness and confidence, all with the overarching aim of keeping people healthy and out of hospital.

Emotional wellbeing sessions, also part of the programme, help deal with aftereffects of a heart attack and seek to reduce lifestyle triggers such as stress.

This is currently the only independent, end-to-end cardiac rehabilitation programme available in London. 

Nuffield Health is uniquely positioned to deliver this and other rehabilitation programmes as patients have access not only to their six hospitals in London, but also their 11 medical centres and 35 gyms across the capital.

The independent healthcare sector, health insurance sector and large employers all have an important role to play in supporting the NHS and improving the nation’s health.

This rehabilitation programme does just that. Giving patients the best possible recovery after cardiac events will reduce hospital readmissions and the likelihood of future illnesses requiring medical attention. This will reduce the number of patients needing NHS treatment, costs for insurers and offer a restoration programme for employees looking to return to work.

Encouragingly, health insurers are beginning to recognise the potential future cost savings of cardiac rehabilitation and are committing to cover this. This will help to build a healthier nation for all.

If you are interested in referring a patient or to find out more, please contact us here: Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew's Hospital | Nuffield Health If you are interested in how we can support your business and your employee healthcare requirements please contact us here: Corporate Healthcare | Nuffield Health

Last updated Monday 23 January 2023

First published on Friday 6 January 2023