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Group has finger on the pulse with awareness event

An awareness event organised by a Shipley medical practice, part of NHS Bradford Districts CCG, will give people chance to check their heart health.

The open day, aimed at raising awareness of heart irregularities, will be held on Thursday 8 June at Kirkgate Community Centre, Shipley, from 10am to 4pm. It has been set up by Westcliffe Medical Practice’s cardiology service, and takes place during Heart Rhythm Week, which runs from 5-11 June.

The event is the idea of Bradford Arrhythmia Group, a patient support group based at the surgery. It was formed five years ago by Dr Matt Fay, GP principal at Westcliffe and specialist in cardiology and Bernie Cahill, assistant practitioner in cardiology.


The group, made up of patients with heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AF) a condition which causes abnormalities in heart rhythm, has gone from strength to strength, and now regularly organises awareness events as well as inviting professional speakers along to its bi-monthly meetings.

Bernie Cahill said: “The group came to us with a great idea for an event or speaker and members decided that Heart Rhythm Week is the perfect opportunity for an awareness event. This event is all about knowledge and getting to recognise symptoms of a possible heart problem.”

A simple pulse check could indicate whether a person may have AF. On the day, medical staff will be using a special ‘rhythm stick’ which changes colour if an irregular pulse is detected, along with a mobile phone app ECG. People would then be given a letter of referral to see their GP.

“We want as many people as possible to come along because often there are no symptoms with heart disorders and this simple test could save someone from having a devastating stroke later on,” added Bernie.

Dr Fay has been pioneering an innovative improvement project for patients living with the potential ticking-time bomb of AF. Prescribing anti-coagulant drugs in place of aspirin has led to fewer strokes in the district.

He said: “Abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart put people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, heart attack or stroke. All strokes are devastating but AF strokes are bigger and potentially lethal. However, with a simple check such as regular pulse checks, any abnormalities can be detected and with the right care and intervention these strokes can be avoided.

“This awareness event is the perfect opportunity for people to come along and find out if they – or a loved one – could be at risk.”

There will also be a selection of informative leaflets and literature on hand from the British Heart Foundation, the Atrial Fibrillation Association and the Arrhythmia Alliance: the heart rhythm charity behind Heart Rhythm Week.

Everyone is welcome at the event – no booking is necessary and refreshments will be available. Come along to the Kirkgate Community Centre, 39a Kirkgate, Shipley BD18 3E.                        

For more information about Heart Rhythm Week and Arrhythmia Alliance, visit: and for more information about AF and the Atrial Fibrillation Association, visit:

PHOTOCALL: Thursday 8 June, 11.15am, Kirkgate Community Centre, Shipley. Bradford’s Lord Mayor Councillor Geoff Reid and Mrs Chris Reid, the Lady Mayoress, will call into the event. Ask for Bernie Cahill on arrival.

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