Heart Care History

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The idea for Walsall Cardiac Rehabilitation Trust or Heart Care as it is now known came from Dr Ron McKecknie in 1980 (a local GP and Rotarian who sadly passed away in 2013). Dr McKechniehad been working with an Exercise Physiologistin regard to fitness and athletes. They compared the results with middle aged men which then lead them to research the advantages for patients with cardio-vascular disease.

2nd September, 1980 – First Preliminary Meeting – West Midlands College, Area Heath Authority, Dr McKechnie, Dr A R Cunnington, Consultant Cardiologist at the Manor Hospital and Mr E B Watts, Local Business man.

Within this meeting it was decided that there would be a two year pilot scheme with the proposal to establish a community based cardiac rehabilitation facility for patients of Walsall and Sutton Coldfield areas at West Midlands College.Brian English, Lecturer of Exercise Physiologyat the College was approached to help with the development.

May 1981 – Trust established – Objective

“ To rehabilitate patients with cardio-vascular disease by attempting to modify the factors which prevent them from returning to a full working and social life ”.


Programme commenced at West Midlands (Walsall) College, operating 6 hours a week run by Brian English following a number of fund raising events and donations from local Rotary Clubs.Official opening – March 1982 by Kenneth Clarke, Minister for Health.

February 1983 and January 1984

EdDoolan Broadcasts from the unit


“ Heart Beat Sutton ” was established based at Wyndley Leisure Centre.  This was an after care only unit for patients referred from either Good Hope Hospital or Walsall Heart Care’s Rehabilitation Programmes.


Heart Care moved from West Midlands (Walsall) College to its own premises in Hollyhedge Lane. Official opening by Bruce George MP.

After Care Programme commenced at Hollyhedge Lane.


Heart Care Streetly (previously known as Heart Beat Sutton) moves to Streetly Community Centre, Foley Road East, Streetly, where it is still located.


To enable Heart Care to develop further and provide a service to more people they move from Hollyhedge Lane to Portland Street in Walsall.  Official opening by Professor Brian Pentecost, OBE, MD FRCP.



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