My statement on the Cardiac Fitness Institute

Queen's Park, April 19, 2018 On Friday, April 27, the Cardiac Fitness Institute at London Health Sciences Centre will close its doors after 30 years of helping Londoners to recover from cardiac events and, more importantly, to maintain their health.

Many of the CFI’s 2,000 patients have credited Dr. Larry Patrick, the cardiologist who founded the program, with literally keeping them alive. Dr. Patrick understands the value of long-term cardiac maintenance following acute rehab care, whether that means participating in regular exercise programs or just coming in for annual checkups, monitoring and stress tests.

The closure of the CFI has created huge anxiety for these 2,000 patients. Those who attended weekly CFI exercise classes will be referred to the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western, where CFI equipment will be moved. But the vast majority of the CFI patients—approximately 1,700—only saw Dr. Patrick once or twice a year. Many are still waiting to be connected to another cardiologist. They feel abandoned and are worried about their ongoing care.

This government claims to be committed to evidence-based decision-making. The CFI has 30 years of data, evidence that could be used to measure the impact of long-term cardiac rehab. I am once again calling on the Liberals to step in and stop the closure of the CFI, at least until the data has been analyzed. It may be that the $300,000 required for the CFI is the best investment government can make to keep cardiac patients alive.