People in the Bradford district living with a heart rhythm disorder are invited to attend a support group which holds its first meeting in Shipley next month.
The meeting at Westcliffe Medical Centre will be led by Dr Matthew Fay, a GP specialist in cardiology and an executive member of the Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dr Fay is also on the medical advisory committee of the charity Arrhythmia Alliance and has worked with the charity to set up the group, which will run on a quarterly basis.
“When people suffer from palpitations, doctors tend to try to stop the rhythms, concentrating on the heart and forgetting the person attached to it,” said Dr Fay.
“So this group has been set up to support those with heart rhythm disorders. It’s a place where they can share experiences, gain valuable education from clinical specialists and get signposting to charities and other support and information networks.
“It’s also the perfect way to forge closer links with patients and listen to their views about services – which is a key priority for the new Bradford Districts Clinical Commissioning Group. We want to include and involve patients in their treatment, long-term care and the planning of future services.”
Caroline Holmes, senior associate for patient services at Arrhythmia Alliance, said: “People with heart rhythm disorders quite often feel alone. It isn’t a visible condition, so it goes unnoticed. This is a place they can get together, have a chat, get proper information and, above all, realise that they are not alone.”
Promising a friendly, informal atmosphere, Dr Fay is hoping the group will become a mutually supportive, patient-led experience for all its members.
“What we’re aiming for is to see patients supporting patients and for them to tell us directly what they want from the group,” he said.
“It may even develop along the lines of some of other UK groups,” said Mrs Holmes.
“Some have turned more social, with members meeting for coffee as well as benefitting from medical presentations at the quarterly meetings.”
The meeting on Thursday, October 18, runs from 2pm to 4pm at Westcliffe Medical Centre, Westcliffe Road, Shipley, BD18 3EE.
For more information call the Arrhythmia Alliance on (01789) 450787 or go to heart rhythmcharity.org.uk.