Leading the fight against cardiovascular disease

An exercise physiologistfrom Sheffield Hallam University is set to help transform the future of cardiovascular care in the UK after being selected to join the executive committee at the British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR).

Dr Simon Nichols will this week take up the role of Scientific Officer with the BACPR where he will draw upon his own research to inform and develop national guidelines for health professionals in the UK working in cardiovascular care and rehabilitation.

Dr Nichols has conducted extensive research into the link between the fitness levels of those with CVD and survival rates – concluding patients with higher fitness levels will live longer.

Drawing on his expertise to collate evidence around cardiovascular care, Dr Nichols will play a key role in helping to drive improvements in the standard of care nationally, ensuring practitioners are delivering high-quality rehabilitation programmes.

“There a lot of programmes up and down the country that aren’t delivering a basic standard of care and that’s down to a lack of funding,” said Dr Nichols, a research fellow in Hallam’s Centre for Sport and Exercise Science.

“There is so much variation across the UK and we need to ensure the standard of care is the same across the board for all CVD conditions in all areas of the country. In some areas, patients who’ve had a heart attack might be eligible for rehabilitation programmes but not if they’ve had angina. It’s quite inconsistent and we need that to change and I’m really looking forward to playing my part in making that happen.”

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes around 26 per cent of all deaths in the UK and around seven million people are living with the condition.

Sheffield Hallam is a national leader in creating innovative and real-world solutions for tackling today’s health and wellbeing challenges.

The University is the largest provider of health and social care education in England.

With courses covering all aspects of healthcare including: nursing, midwifery, allied health, social care and sport, its curriculum creates the skilled workforce the NHS needs to deliver better long-term health outcomes for the nation.

Over the last five years, more than 8,000 students have qualified as healthcare professionals from Sheffield Hallam, who have all benefited from an interdisciplinary teaching approach, working with partners and academics who are leaders in their fields.

Sheffield Hallam’s partnerships with hospital trusts, social care providers and leading health charities, provides around 20,000 placement opportunities for Sheffield Hallam’s healthcare students each year.

The University specialises in healthcare research and its practitioners, scientists, engineers and designers regularly collaborate to create innovative solutions to global health challenges.

Sally Hinton, BACPR executive director, said: “We are very pleased that Simon is joining our executive committee and look forward to developing our research activities under Simon’s leadership.”