Welcome to the Hearts & Minds Website

Just to let you know what we are all about and what we do to help Cardiac Patients and their Careers

Objectives and Overview Click Here

Registered charity in England No 1144451

Affiliated to the British Heart Foundation

Meetings held at the Laindon Center Click for map

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A voluntary self-funding group of heart patients and their careers that help patients and careers face the future

Next Meeting Monday 16th May 2016

Buddy System

We are very keen to establish a “buddy” network as part of the group’s continuing desire to provide practical support to patients and families who have experienced a cardiac event. We are seeking volunteers from within the group to offer their time to speak to patients who are recently discharged from hospital or about to go in to have a procedure or a carer who has a full list of worries and concerns for the wellbeing of their partner.  This opportunity to speak with someone who has gone through what you are about to can prove to be invaluable. We believe that everybody will benefit from speaking to somebody who has “been there, done that and bought the T Shirt” (you can actually buy the T Shirt from us!). This will not be a case of having people ringing you at all times of the day. The patients will be closely matched so that their condition matches your own and they will be told a time to call that is convenient for you. Please cast your mind back to your own event and consider how useful it would have been to have the opportunity to speak with someone.

May 16th We are really pleased to welcome back Julia Keating from CTC. Julia is the lead pharmacist at she has spoken to our group on many occasions with varied presentations revolving around the medication that we take and have always been popular.

Are you doing enough ? Click link below from the BHF

Lack of exercise may lead to twice as many deaths as obesity, study claims

Welcome to five new members


In the spirit of travel, exploration and adventure, please welcome


Ranulph, Philleas, Walter, Scott and Marco to the group.

As part of our aim to inspire people we want to get the message across that there are opportunities to live a fulfilled life after a cardiac event. An element of life that is important to many people is the ability to take a holiday. We already know that many of our members regularly manage to get away to various locations within the UK, Europe and further abroad. We need to let current patients know that, in most cases, travel is still an option. To enforce this we have purchased five travel teddies for members to take away on their travels. There are three criteria for taking one off the teddies away with you:

1. The teddy must come back in good condition,

2. You need to supply a picture to be put up in Rehab,

3.  Copy to david.march.sky.com for the website,

 Heart group raises over £1,250 for British Heart Foundation

Cardiac rehab gang with Les Spencer (centre) holding the cake he made.

 Volunteers and hospital staff raised more than £1,250 for charity during the British Heart Foundation’s Wear it, Beat it day on Friday 4 February.


Volunteers from the Hearts and Minds group manned stalls in Basildon Hospital’s main reception, outpatients and The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre’s reception, selling British Heart Foundation merchandise. They raised £1,250 for the national charity.


Some of that cash was raised by cardiac rehab patient Les Spencer, who baked a heart shaped cake for the Hearts and Minds group to raffle off.

Liz Fennell, cardiac rehab sister, said: “We just want to say a big thank you to the Hearts and Minds group for their support during Wear it, Beat it. We had a busy day in clinic and they were able to step in, man the stalls and raise a lot of money for charity.”


Patient Les Spencer, 67, from Grays, spent four hours baking and icing the cake, shaped in the form of the hearts and Minds logo. He had a heart attack on 17 November 2015 and was in hospital for nearly a month, as the main artery supplying blood to his heart was blocked and he required a heart bypass.

He said: “I was in pre-assessment talking about the Christmas cake and the fact my wife was going to have to make it this year because I had my heart attack. The nurses overheard me and I offered to bake them a cake when I was better.

“I enjoy baking cakes. It’s a bit of a hobby of mine. The most adventurous design I’ve ever made was a cathedral.”

BHF have updated four of their popular booklets in the Heart Information Series about different heart conditions and treatments, including

blood pressure - peripheral arterial disease

 atrial fibrillation - heart transplant  

Click on the above links to download these booklets

Each booklet includes patient case studies and they offer a valuable source of information and support to patients and their families.

2016 Wear It - Beat It

  From the Hospital  

 Quiz Night – The annual quiz is now booked for Friday 29th April 2016. As always, there will be a theme to the quiz and this will be announced in the next newsletter (when it has been chosen!). Tickets will be £4.00 per head and tables will be limited to 8 people. We will have the big hall all night and the use of the self-contained bar throughout. You can bring along your own food. There is no need to book a whole table as we can mix small groups together to make a full table. We always sell out so please book early by contacting Andrew on 07966 880053 or via email to andrewcatley@hotmail.co.uk.

“Heart attack survival rates at Essex Cardiothoracic Centre among best in Britain.

Emergency patients taken to The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) after a heart attack have one of the highest chances in the country of making a good recovery.

About 30,000 people in Britain have a cardiac outside hospital every year and their chances of making it alive to an emergency department are around 50/50. If they do, their chances of making a full recovery without damage to the brain or other organs will depend on the quality of treatment they receive.

Dr John Davies, cardiology consultant at the specialist heart centre, explains: “Data at the CTC shows a particularly high survival rate, given the severity the patients’ conditions. We think this is due to teamwork, rapid treatment and management of the heart disease and the effects that cardiac arrest has on other organs. We believe that this can only be provided at centres like ours where the facilities and expertise are available round the clock, every day of the year.”

Noel Watson, divisional head of nursing and quality (interim), at the CTC recently organised a study day to share knowledge with other cardiac clinical staff from hospitals in London and East Anglia. In one of the presentations, Dr Davies told delegates that 20 years ago he could never have imagined the improvements that would be made in the treatment of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA).

He said: “Such progress is a shining example of teamwork – what we refer to as the ‘chain of survival’ for patients. The first link in the chain may be a bystander who knows how to administer chest compressions and rescue breaths (CPR) until another ‘link’ arrives - the paramedic team.

“In hospital, the patient will then be treated by doctors, nurses and therapists from nearly 20 different disciplines, including cardiology, radiography, neurology, renal, intensive care, physiotherapy, cardiac rehab, to name a few. Along with these clinical specialists, follow-up care from The CTC’s psychological support service, patient’s GP and their family, are all essential elements of the chain of survival.”

Emergency patients treated at the Essex CTC also benefit from the latest techniques and equipment, including state-of-the-art cath labs where imaging, tests and cardiology procedures are carried out. And the specialist centre is one of many in Britain to offer a treatment called therapeutic hypothermia (TH), where the patient is rapidly cooled before the artery is opened by cardiologists

 Dr Thomas Keeble, cardiology consultant, explains: “Clinical trials show that if the patient is cooled after a heart attack, there is a significant reduction in the physical or neurological (brain) damage caused to them. “When an artery is blocked the surrounding heart muscle dies. When we open up the artery, the muscle that has died is further damaged by the rapid reflow of blood – about half the injury to the heart following a cardiac arrest is caused by this.

 “By cooling the patient before we open the artery, we can significantly reduce this damage. It’s essential to do this quickly – we begin TH on the patient immediately on their arrival and in most cases, get their body temperature down to the target 33 degrees while they are still in cath lab.”