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Join the fight and help people live their lives to the full
We need your help to campaign for better care and services for people with chest, heart and stroke conditions.
Together, we can make a real difference.
Join our Campaigner Network now to get regular updates on Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland campaigns, opportunities to get involved and the impact of your support.
We know for many people recovering from health conditions, rehab is essential to help them live the best lives that they can. The Scottish Government’s proposed Human Rights Bill is an opportunity to make rehab a human right – join the campaign to make it happen!
One in five people in Scotland are living with a chest, heart or stroke condition including Long Covid. We believe everyone has the right to live life to the full, so that’s why we’ve been campaigning to improve the support available to people across Scotland.
We’ve successfully campaigned on a range of issues – and it’s all thanks to our incredible Campaigner Network.
Together with people living with the devastating effects of Long Covid, we successfully campaigned for the Scottish Government to jointly fund a new support service for the thousands of people across Scotland living with this new health condition.
Thrombectomy is a specialised treatment that improves people’s chances of recovery after a stroke. Together with stroke survivor Robert Baldock, we called on the Scottish Government to make sure that thrombectomies were made available in Scotland, and pilot services have now begun in Dundee and Edinburgh.
Our Right to Pulmonary Rehab report highlighted how people living with chest conditions like COPD or bronchiectasis struggle to access life-changing Pulmonary Rehab. The Scottish Government has since committed to improving access to pulmonary rehab through a new Respiratory Care Action Plan.
In 2023 we conducted a survey through an independent research company to find out how people’s experiences have changed over the last five years, and to include people living with Long Covid for the first time. The 1886 responses to the survey tell us that people with our conditions are continuing to struggle with loneliness and their mental wellbeing, and that opportunities are still being missed for them to get the support they need to live their lives to the full.
Our campaigns wouldn’t be successful without the help of people like you – and people like Robert and Jock. They joined our Campaigner Network and used their own stories and experiences to help fight for change.
Robert Baldock suffered a serious ischemic stroke in 2017, and his life was saved by a thrombectomy. This procedure can reduce the severity of a stroke’s effect by quickly removing the blood clot that is cutting off blood flow to the brain. Robert has been left with aphasia and verbal dyspraxia but “feels incredibly lucky to be alive”.
“When I heard that thrombectomy was to be withdrawn as a method of treating those who have had an ischemic stroke, I was incredibly sad. I thought of all the people and families who would not benefit in the way that I had and whose lives would be wrecked,” he explains. “I knew I had to try and do something.”
“I live with aphasia – I know what I want to say but have difficulty finding the words to express myself. And I have verbal dyspraxia – when I have the words, I find it difficult to create the appropriate sounds.
“But Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland helped me to find my voice and tell my story, and the Bring Back Thrombectomy campaign was launched.
“I helped raise awareness of the campaign at the Scottish Parliament. I met with the Health Minister and was invited to participate in cross-party meetings.
“I found myself doing things I’d never done before, like delivering talks and making after-dinner speeches.
“Personally it was a very positive experience, and I met some interesting people.
“Getting involved in campaigning was challenging, but it also gave me an excellent opportunity to give something back in a small way for the excellent care and treatment I received.”
Retired joiner Jock Shiells, 71, lives with the debilitating lung condition, COPD, a legacy of a lifetime of working. He joined with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland for the right to pulmonary rehabilitation in 2019 after figures revealed more people than ever in Scotland living with COPD.
“When I was first diagnosed with COPD in 2004, I had no idea about the condition. At first I thought it had been caused by me smoking, but the consultant told me my trade was to blame. As a joiner, I’d been exposed for years to all kinds of dust that had got into my lungs.
“We’re all wearing masks now because of Covid-19, but if I’d asked my boss for a mask back when I was a young apprentice, he’d have laughed at me. But that’s where the damage was done.
“So raising awareness of COPD is so important. That’s why I was delighted to be part of the campaign to improve pulmonary rehabilitation.
“It’s important that people who are living long term with COPD learn about how to manage the condition. I was basically handed an inhaler and told to get on with it. That’s no use. I wanted to be able to do things, like tend to my allotment and go swimming. I needed help to do that. Everyone with COPD does.
“As part of the campaign for better pulmonary rehab, I felt people were genuinely listening to what I had to say about the condition and how it feels to live with it. It made me feel everything was worthwhile.”
If you know about an issue people living with chest, heart or stroke conditions or Long Covid are facing and think we should take action, let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out the contact form below. You can help us shape the future of services across Scotland.