Our History

Founded in 1976, Cardiac Rehab has a long history in championing healthy hearts.

1 in 4
people are at risk of heart disease

Our history

The Basingstoke & Alton Rehabilitation Unit opened in 1976 with just a few cardiac patients, utilising facilities in Alton Sports Centre.  A team led by local GP Dr Hugh Bethell and physiotherapist Dr Sally Turner supervised and monitored the performance of post-operative patients on a course of graduated exercise. Early results were encouraging and medical practices in surrounding areas started to refer patients to “Cardiac Rehab”.

Cardiac Rehab’s reputation soon spread and within two years the major hospital in the area (Basingstoke) began regularly to refer cardiac patients.  Taking a research-based approach the team learned from studying the changes in fitness achieved, adjusting the course of tailored exercise and then combining it with education about heart disease, diet, stress management and relaxation.

Since its opening in 1976, Cardiac Rehab has been a leader in its field.

It was the first community-based cardiac rehabilitation unit in the UK and its example has been followed widely.  Members of the Cardiac Rehab team helped to increase the provision of units across the country, and with the founding of the British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation in 1992, now known as the BACPR.

In 1992 the Basingstoke & Alton Cardiac Rehabilitation Charity was formed, with the express intention to build a facility that would be an improvement on that which was available at the Sports Centre and provide facilities for Basingstoke Hospital to offer far better post-operative cardiac clinics in Alton.

After a huge local fundraising effort, the current Centre was built in 1997.  The move to its own building enabled Cardiac Rehab to expand its operations, including starting its own Phase IV cardiac rehabilitation exercise programme for those who “graduate” from the NHS-run Phase III programme.  In 2009 the preventative Staywell Programme was introduced to help those most at risk of developing heart disease look after their heart.

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the Centre, which has seen a programme of refurbishment taking place to ensure the building is in as good condition as our Exercisers!


Post operative cardiac rehabilitation (Phase III) started in Alton Sports Centre


Cardiac Rehab charity inaugurated


Cardiac Rehab Centre opened and offered Phase III and Phase IV rehabilitation


Staywell heart disease prevention programme introduced alongside Rehab


Steady & Strong falls-prevention programme introduced


Pulmonary Rehab first offered


COVID pandemic saw a shift to online classes


Long-COVID rehabilitation programme introduced

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