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Professor acknowledged for playing key role in global cardiac healthcare policy..jpg

John Buckley, Professor in Applied Exercise Science, has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) for his contribution to its Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation (PIR).

As a member of the WHO’s Development Group for Ischemic Heart Disease, Professor Buckley has contributed to a resource package that will help developing countries enhance their medical services for patients recovering from heart disease – the largest cause of disability and death in the world.

Forming a key part of the WHO’s Universal Health Care policy, its Guidance Packages in all aspects of health care help government agencies make decisions on the types of services, equipment, people and clinicians needed to meet the medical standards currently experienced by high-income, developed countries, such as those in Europe and North America.

The Guidance Package for Cardiac Rehabilitation, to which Professor Buckley contributed with 12 other specialists from around the world, includes setting out the essential components that should make up a programme, such as lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, psychological support and follow-up medical treatments.

The specialist staff required to deliver such a programme include heart doctors and nurses, psychologists, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and dieticians. The essential resources that influence non-staff costs range from considering location of venues (including home-based, especially accelerated by COVID-19), equipment, programme and session length, evaluation and assessment.

Professor Buckley, who is also Director of The Centre for Active Living at University Centre Shrewsbury, first became involved with the WHO in 2017, when he was asked to contribute to its Rehabilitation 2030 initiative. Of the 300 delegates invited to that meeting, he was one of four professionals then asked to be the voice of the prevention and management of heart disease.

This led to Professor Buckley being invited back in 2019 to join a panel of experts from around the world to put together the WHO’s policy and service requirements for delivering cardiac rehabilitation.

Professor Buckley said: “This has been the single highest honour I have received in my career as an exercise rehabilitation professional and an academic.

“Having worked in exercise rehabilitation for more than 25 years, after starting up a small fitness and physiotherapy centre in Shrewsbury in the late 80s, the experience and the honour of sitting in the main boardroom of the headquarters of the World Health Organisation in Geneva is often hard to fathom.

“However, as a lecturer, it’s also encouraging for students because it highlights both the quality of teaching research and the opportunities that studying with us at the University Centre Shrewsbury and the University of Chester can provide.

“My hope is that this acknowledgement illustrates how on a practical daily basis our students now have access to a ‘kit bag’ of experiences applicable to all levels, from undergraduate to PhD.

“Whether it involves work on the gym floor trying to make a difference to individual people’s lives, or sharing and reporting information that is derived from critical analysis and research that can actually be translated into everyday policies and procedures, what they learn is vital to public health.”

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