The Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge disruption to life saving heart care, causing untold heartbreak for so many.

Latest figures show that around 30,948 people in the South West were waiting for heart tests and treatment, including heart surgery, at the end of June.

Despite the unwavering efforts of everyone across the health and care system, the situation could get even worse.

New analysis by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) predicts that the number of people anxiously waiting for heart care and diagnosis in England could peak at over half a million in January 2024. In this scenario, it could take up to five years for cardiac waiting lists to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

That’s why the Government must act now. We need a clear cardiovascular strategy for England to support recovery from the pandemic, alongside substantial long-term investment in the health and care system, with targeted funding to tackle the backlog of heart care.

To help us, we’re calling on readers to email their MP, urging them to show their commitment to addressing this vast backlog and help end the untold heartbreak.

You can do that by visiting bhf.org.uk/askyourmp Without this urgent action from the Government, we’re deeply concerned that many heart patients might not get the life saving care they need before it’s too late.

DR CHARMAINE GRIFFITHS

Chief Executive, British Heart Foundation