OH nurses to play part in DoH heart disease mission

OH nurses called on to take-up rehabilitation role in government drive to
reduce coronary heart disease fatalities

Occupational health nurses must search out specialist cardiac rehabilitation
nurses in their local area and work with them before heart attack patients are
returned to the workplace.

This was the message from assistant public health director of Herefordshire
health authority Jill Ashley-Jones, speaking at a conference run by the NHS
executive in Birmingham last month.

Stressing the importance of teamwork between occupational health and cardiac
nurses, she said, "If a patient with coronary heart disease is returning
to work, there are matters that occupational health nurses need to be aware of
before these patients are sent into the workplace.

"It is no good sending a patient back into a work environment that is
unsuitable for them."

Her comments come as health secretary Alan Milburn announced plans to reduce
the number of deaths from heart disease by 40 per cent in the next 10 years.

Coronary heart disease is one of the biggest killers in this country and
claims the lives of 110,000 people a year.

The Government’s blueprint for tackling the disease – National Service
Framework for Coronary Heart Disease – recognises the importance of modern
prevention and primary care, as well as the contribution of more specialised
services such as rehabilitation.

Occupational health nurses will be an important part of the rehabilitation
process as people who have suffered a heart attack, had bypass surgery or
angioplasty will be offered a programme of support to aid their recovery.

Coronary Heart Disease National Service Framework for CHD www.doh.gov.uk/pointh.htm

Employer targets: by April 2001

– Policy on smoking
– Reference to specialist smoking cessation services, including clinics

by April 2002

– "Green" transport plans
– Employee-friendly policies

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