Andrew Marr criticizes lack of support after operation

Journalist and presenter Andrew Marr criticizes lack of support after successful operation for his stroke.

Andrew Marr’s comments on his hospital treatment and subsequent physiotherapy sounds strikingly similar to the way heart patients are treated – excellent initial care, but little (if any) follow-up after rehabilitation.

Jonathan Ross invited Andrew Marr on to his show the other week. Andrew is visibly still suffering the consequences of the stroke he suffered last year.

In his interview he said :

“I’ll never be 100% again but I will be most of the way there and it’s one of those simple things – the more work you do, the more physiotherapy and strength training you do, the better you’ll be, but you have to do it every day probably for years and years.”

Marr said that his personal experiences had made him realise how poor the UK is at helping people recover from strokes, commenting: “I had enough money to pay for physiotherapy every day when I came out of hospital. I still do it almost every day. Most people can’t afford that.

“We’re brilliant in this country at saving people’s lives from strokes, fantastic, we’re as good as anywhere, but once we save their lives we’re very, very bad at helping them get back to normal health and strength.”

He added: “There’s lots of people all around the country who are in their 20s and 30s and they are in a wheelchair or they can’t walk and they can’t work. They are going to spend 50 or 60 years dependent on the state, unable to pay taxes, unable to work and have a full life. With a bit of physiotherapy we could turn that around and as a country we have to give people physiotherapy after a stroke.”

Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to how we heart patients are treated? After brilliant surgery or treatment, once we leave the hospital then we are forgotten and expected to fend for ourselves. I, personally, am very grateful to the rehab team at Poole Hospital and their help and dedication in getting me back to living a normal life.

At one of the visits to rehab there was a talk from Poole Heart Support Group, which really impressed me. There are lots of other people in the Poole area living with heart conditions, and PHSG demonstrated that they offer “Help and Support” to us all. I joined up almost immediately and at the first meeting I went to, which was an AGM, I volunteered to help as secretary. That was 10 years ago and I’m still here!

PHSG has difficulties in getting new heart patients to join us. Unfortunately the vast majority of GP surgeries consider PHSG as “a bunch of amateurs” and very rarely recommend (if ever?) any of their heart patients to join us. Yes, we ARE a bunch of amateurs, although most ably supported by our fantastic professional trainers! What would we do without them? What a brilliant group of girls they are!!

Isn’t it time that all forms of support after any heart intervention, stroke or other serious condition, is considered absolutely fundamental to a continuing useful life? When will the government realise that they should be actively promoting groups such as ours, which will cut NHS costs significantly and give a meaning to life after being discharged from hospital?

If you have any comments to make, please add them at the bottom of the page under “Leave a Reply”.

David Anderson
Secretary – PHSG

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Clive Wedgery
Clive Wedgery
6 years ago

I’d like to know where I can go to be monitored on a regular basis. Forget the NHS. I’m happy to pay for it.
I had a heart attack two years ago. Since then I’ve received no support from my GP’s surgery whatsoever. I might as well not exist. I wonder whether BUPA might have a scheme.

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