Milestones & Achievements

Our Milestones & Achievements

November 21

2017 – Counselling Support Extends

Having offered counselling support to individuals since 2012, the charity has seen over 300 people accessing this service and the incredible difference that this support has made to people’s lives. We are now pleased to announce that this service is being extended to cover all of Devon, Cornwall and The Scilly Isles. To find out more visit our counselling & support page.

December 31

Defibrillator Programme

2016 – Defibrillator Success!

Having embarked on a new defibrillator programme in 2015, HeartSWell have provided life-saving defibrillator equipment and training to over forty premises in Devon and Cornwall so far. This includes thirty-one devices which have been installed in the community this year. Locations include: Montpellier Primary School, The Fawn Mutley Plain, Ivybridge Rugby Club, Calor Gas Lee Mill, Murray Volkswagen Newton Abbott, Watermark Lions Club, Park Run Plymouth, Gunnislake Hall Calstock, Tavistock Athletics, Boringdon School, Staddon Heights Golf Club, Moorhaven Village, Plymouth City Bus, The Queens Albaston, Bovey Tracey, CSA Plymouth, St Marys Church Plymstock, St Peters School Lympstone and Lodges across the South West.

July 3

2014 – New Arrhythmia Nurses for Derriford Hospital

HeartSWell donations are to fund Arrhythmia Care Co-ordinator posts at Derriford Hospital for three years. Carolyn Stewart and Debbie Welsh are specialists in caring for patients with heart rhythm problems and those undergoing curative procedures such as ablations, patients with implantable devices such as defibrillators and screening families with inherited cardiac conditions.

July 11

2013 – ECG Arrhythmia Detection Systems

2013 – ECG Arrhythmia Detection Systems

Four new Automatic ECG Arrhythmia Detection Systems were donated to the Cardiology Department at Derriford Hospital. These devices were funded by the Camelford fundraisers who raise money specifically to support HeartSWell. This equipment will alleviate the long waiting times for patients who need to have a recorder fitted.  

September 10

2012 – Hi-Tech CPR Machine for The Royal Cornwall Hospital

This year HeartSWell donated a hi-tech, computerised cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) machine to the cardiology team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Costing £10,000, the ZOLL® AutoPulse® is able to deliver life-saving CPR if the heart suddenly stops so that patients can continue to receive chest compressions whilst undergoing a scan or having an x-ray taken.  In normal situations, CPR is carried out manually by skilled doctors and nurses but this can’t easily be done whilst a patient is in a scanner or on having an x-ray.

June 16

£100K 3D Heart Scanner – Breaking News!

£100K 3D Heart Scanner – Breaking News!

This transformational piece of equipment, with the potential to benefit hundreds of patients every year, was jointly funded by HeartSWell and The British Heart Foundation.

May 11

2008 – Education & Support

2008 – Education & Support

This year 10,000 cardiac patient information booklets printed to help support patients under-going heart surgery. Fundraising and donations enabled us to train 2 cardiac nurses and to part fund a cardiac nurse counsellor, based at Derriford Hospital.

July 20

2007 – Donations Make a Difference

This year we were able to donate £64,000 to Derriford hospital which enabled them to purchase an Echo Machine & TOE. This equipment assists doctors in detecting problems with the structure and function of the heart.  

February 14

2006 – Wear It Red

2006 – Wear It Red

We hosted our first annual ‘Wear It Red’ day on Valentine’s Day raising an incredible £2,500 This year we were also able to donate £125,000 to fund the purchase of a new Electrocardiography Computer System. Sadly we also saw the passing away of HeartSWell’s Vice Chair and Founding Member, Monica Pearce, aged 73

January 5

2004 – Technological Advancements

£30,000 donation to Derriford Hospital to purchase a TOE (Transoesphageal) probe and continuous blood pressure monitor.

August 1

2002 – New Equipment for the Cardiac Unit

2002 – New Equipment for the Cardiac Unit

£5,000 donated to Derriford to purchase a Doppler Perfusion Monitor. £35,0000 towards an Electrical Mapping System donated to Derriford Hospital on the first anniversary of the HeartSWell Lodge opening.

August 1

2001 – HeartSWell Lodge Opens Its Doors

2001 – HeartSWell Lodge Opens Its Doors

The Lodge, built by charity donations, opened as HeartSWell Lodge in 2001 to accommodate heart carers in an affordable and supportive environment, while their loved ones were being treated. Given its success, it now offer its facilities to carers of all types of patient, both at Derriford and elsewhere.  

November 1

1997 – The Cardiac Centre Opens

Ground breaking success as the new cardiothoracic centre opens. Between 1997 and 2016, the centre performed over 20,000 open heart surgery operations.

March 22

1994 – Success in Parliament

1994 – Success in Parliament

195,000 signature petition delivered to Downing Street. House of Commons announces decision to set up a Cardiac Unit at Derriford Hospital.  

November 15

1986 – Cardiology Fund Established

Plymouth & District Cardiology Fund established to promote a Cardiac Surgery Unit in the South West, to raise funds to provide specialist equipment to the South West Cardiothoracic Directorate and to provide Cardiac Counselling

A Brief History

HeartSWell started as a grassroots campaigning group in 1986. Its aim was to make cardiac surgery available in the South West.

Until this time, between 600 and 700 patients each year travelled to Bristol or London for surgery. Our founder, the late Monica Pearce, was determined that families shouldn’t have to experience the additional stress and upheaval (and great expense) that travelling long distances and staying away from home can cause. Especially given the worry and concern inevitable alongside the diagnosis of a heart condition.

Following many years of campaigning, including a petition which was signed by 195,000 people (a significant achievement in the days before online petitions), an announcement was made in May 1994 in the House of Commons that cardiac surgery would be available at Derriford Hospital.

Far from our work being done, the newly established charity set about looking at the accommodation which would be available for relatives and friends travelling long distances. Many had experienced high-quality facilities in Bristol and London, and wanted the same for those coming to the new cardiac unit at Derriford.

In April 1996, we launched an appeal to build a hospital hotel and in 2001, after raising over £700,000, HeartSWell Lodge opened.

HeartSWell Lodge continues to provide high quality accommodation in a relaxed and informal ‘home from home’ setting, close to Derriford Hospital. It is available for relatives or carers of anyone staying at Derriford (not just cardiac patients). For more information, please visit their website.

HeartSWell South West remains committed to providing relief for cardiac patients and their carers throughout the South West.