Cardiac research is at the heart of everything we do – James Jopling

British Heart Foundation Shop, Shopping Precinct, Penicuik.British Heart Foundation Shop, Shopping Precinct, Penicuik.
British Heart Foundation Shop, Shopping Precinct, Penicuik.
I always expected my first few months at BHF ­Scotland would be interesting, ­inspiring, thought-provoking and may even throw up the odd, unexpected challenge. But like most of us, never could I have imagined the world we are now living in – the new “normal” we are all now trying to adapt to.

But amongst the understandable worry and uncertainty, one thing has remained steadfast – our ­commitment to support the 720,000 people in Scotland living with heart and circulatory diseases.

We are still learning how coronavirus affects people with existing medical conditions and it’s important to remember that most of those who develop Covid-19 have a mild ­illness and make a full recovery. However, information to date suggests that some with heart and circulatory ­diseases may be at increased risk of a more severe illness if infected with the virus. So, that is why the BHF is here to offer support in every way we can.

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Our dedicated cardiac nursing team and medical experts are a great source of information and guidance to those with unanswered ­questions or concerns. They are working ­harder than ever, constantly ­reviewing the latest evidence on the virus so we can continue to give clear, ­evidence-based information on our BHF website and through our Heart Helpline. Our online community Health­Unlocked is another way you can ­connect with other people ­affected by heart and circulatory ­diseases during uncertain times.

James Jopling, Head of BHF ScotlandJames Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland
James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland

Adapting to the new normal means finding new ways of working to ­support the nation’s hearts. We are working closely with our colleagues across the NHS to develop ­alternative ways of delivering services, such as cardiac rehabilitation, to provide ongoing care for those who need it.

Our support for people with heart and circulatory diseases is unwavering, as is our commitment to funding world-class research.

As a medical research charity, we are inspired by the way the ­global ­scientific community has come together to tackle coronavirus. We know from nearly 60 years of ­experience that research takes hard work, commitment and boundless energy. We are doing everything we can to enable our researchers to take part in the extraordinary efforts to beat this pandemic.

Of course, research into heart and circulatory diseases is still at the heart of what we do. Even in these challenging times, we continue to support our 240 scientists in ­Scotland, who work tirelessly to help all of us live longer, healthier lives. The research we fund is as vital as ever and we are committed to making sure it can continue in the future.

However, like many charities, the crisis is going to have a big impact on our income. Our shops have closed and scores of fundraising events have been cancelled. This means as a ­charity we expect the pandemic to cost us £10 million a month in the ­current ­circumstances.

The support charities give to medical research must not be overlooked in a crisis that ultimately research is critical in solving. We are constantly reviewing the ­situation and doing all we can to minimise its effect on our people, our research programme, and the vital support we give people with heart and ­circulatory disease.

Many have asked how they can ­continue to help us during this ­challenging time – which is both humbling and much appreciated. The simplest way to do this, and only if you are able, is by making a ­donation.

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Our amazing people across ­Scotland and the rest of the UK are working hard from living rooms and ­kitchen tables to ensure that we ­protect our lifesaving work, and that when this crisis subsides, we will be in the best place possible to continue in our mission, so that together we can beat heartbreak forever.

If you would like to have more information, guidance and ­support please visit our ­website at

James Jopling, head of BHF ­Scotland.



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