Heart charity makes first march on Parliament

The British Heart Foundation this week marched on the Houses of Parliament in the first political protest in the charity's history. The foundation said it turned to direct action to promote the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation because it is "severely underestimated by the medical community".

March: the BHF protests
March: the BHF protests
Dr Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the BHF, said: “We feels passionately about this cause as demonstrated by this political action, our first protest in almost 50 years as an organisation.”

Ruairi O’Connor, public affairs manager at the charity, said it wanted to establish itself as “a more active voice for change”. He said: “We’re always going to be keen to work with government. The British Heart Foundation is likely to be a critical friend.”

He added that although the foundation was “never going to be Greenpeace”, it would not back away from being as vocal in the future.

The charity used its website, www.bhf.org.uk, to inform supporters about the march and encourage them to take part. It also wrote to healthcare professionals it knew would be interested in getting involved.

The charity contacted the MPs representing the marchers to ensure they were at Westminster to receive them and their demands at the House of Commons.

There are no immediate plans for any more political protests, but the charity is working on other political campaigns. It is talking directly to the Government about banning cigarette machines to prevent under-18s buying tobacco illegally and is involved in the Children’s Food Campaign with Sustain, Cancer Research UK, the National Heart Foundation and Which?

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