Registered charity in England No 1144451
Meetings held at Steeple View Memorial Hall, Willowfields, Laindon, Basildon, Essex, SS15 4EQ                                       click for map
Basildon & District Heart Support Group
A self-help group that helps patients and carers face the future
Affiliated to the British Heart Foundation
Patient Lounge for Chelmer Ward
Members of Hearts and Minds join hospital staff to celebrate the opening of the new lounge for patients and carers
Heart patient group adds a homely touch to the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre and members of Hearts and Minds join hospital staff to celebrate the opening of the new lounge for patients and carers

Patients at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) can now relax before and after their treatments in a lounge with home comforts, thanks to a donation from a cardiac rehabilitation support group.  Basildon Hearts and Minds is a charity run by heart patients, working with clinical staff at the CTC, offering support and information to people with heart conditions, along with their relatives and carers.
The group gave £2,400 to pay for an unused room on Chelmer ward to be decorated and equipped with furniture, a television, a water cooler and a kettle and the new lounge was officially opened on 13 September by Danny McCormack, general manager of the CTC, with invited guests from Hearts and Minds and hospital staff,  including Colin Barrow, building craftsman, who renovated the room.   

Danny said: “Hearts and Minds have been doing wonderful work for the benefit of patients for many years and this is a shining example of that. It is invaluable to have their support and involvement to help determine improvements for the people from Essex and the whole country who use our services.”  Feedback from patients who have been treated at the world-class heart and lung specialist centre at Basildon Hospital is overwhelmingly positive, and many of them said that a lounge would be a welcome addition.  

Liz Shaughnessy, manager of Chelmer ward, said: “A lot of people mentioned that they would appreciate being able to make a hot drink without having to ask busy staff. And it’s also very positive for patients and carers to have a place to meet and share their experiences.

Guests at the opening included Jim Roberts, 64, from Brentwood, who had a heart procedure in the CTC last year. He subsequently joined the Hearts and Minds support group and is now chair.  Mr Roberts said: “I received excellent care at the CTC – within an hour of collapsing in my local high street I was in theatre.”    Also at the opening was Colin Blackall, from Benfleet, with his wife Gillian. Mr Blackall donated two pictures for the new lounge. He was the first patient to have a quadruple by-pass at the CTC, shortly after it opened in 2007. He was 73 when he had heart surgery, and ten years later remains in good health

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