coronary care nurse Caroline Sherlock keeps an eye on John Griffiths, who suffered a heart attack eight weeks ago, as he takes part in a rehabilitation course funded by Tyne and Wear health action zone.

Similar courses were held at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but growing demand has led to the development of a new, four-week programme at the larger Dunston Activity Centre, run by Gateshead Leisure Services. About 40 patients a month use the service, which includes advice on lifestyle changes as well as exercise.