Rhondda GPs back Welsh Hearts campaign

Rhondda GPs fund life saving defibrillatots

Heart patient Steven Jones received an extra special delivery on his 33rd birthday.

The former bricklayer was forced to give up his job when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition just over two years ago.

He is now being treated at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, for dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of his heart.

Since the diagnosis, his hairdresser wife Lindsey has been raising funds for the Welsh Hearts RCT100 appeal which aims to site 100 life-saving defibrillators in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The couple were chosen to receive the first of eight machines on behalf of GP practices in Rhondda which funded them.

The equipment which will have public access will be sited outside Lindsey’s ‘Vous’ hairdressing business in the centre of Ton Pentre.

The Rhondda cluster of GPs, a network of 14 local practices, decided to fund eight defibrillators at a cost of £8,000.

A heart defibrillator

Dr Ian O’Sullivan, based in Pont Newydd Medical Centre in Porth, said: “Living in the Rhondda means you are at increased risk of early death and cardiovascular disease.

“The affects of this are felt on a daily basis by the families of those who have lost loved ones prematurely.

“The Rhondda cluster is pleased to support this project and is also looking at other ways of reducing this inequality and inverse care.”

Steven said that he had been suffering from tiredness, shortness of breath and finally chest pains before he found out his condition.

“I would urge anyone who is feeling this way to see their doctor, no matter what your age. It could save your life,” he said. “Doctors said it could be hereditary or may have been caused by a virus.”

Lindsey said: “When heart disease comes into your family it makes you realise there are a lot of people who could be affected. Steven was so young; the last thing we expected was him having a heart condition. We were one of the lucky ones. Many people find out when they drop down from a heart attack.”

David Healy, volunteer manager with the RCT 100 campaign, said: “Each of our defibrillators will be placed in a public area to help to save more lives.

“The more people we can make aware of what these machines can do, the better. The chance of survival for someone who has a cardiac arrest is so much greater with a defibrillator.”

The second of the eight defibrillators funded by Rhondda GPs was due to presented to the Mill View care home in Ystrad on Friday, July 29.

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