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Exercise on Referral

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Exercise on Referral

Posted on Tuesday 15th April 2014

Exercise on Referral team and patients at the Wigton project,

A successful project to help people improve their health through GPs prescribing exercise at their local gym is expanding across Cumbria.

Exercise on Referral, which has been working in Carlisle and Allerdale is now to be offered to patients in Eden. North Country Leisure, who run Penrith and Appleby Leisure Centres are working with local family doctors and rehabilitation teams, and Specialist Nursing teams to provide a 15 week exercise programme for patients with conditions such as diabetes, respiratory diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis, neurological conditions, obesity, muscular skeletal conditions, stress, anxiety and depression.

The scheme in Eden is set to start on April 28 however Exercise on Referral in Carlisle and Allerdale has already helped many Cumbrian’s to improve their health, fitness and enjoy the social aspect of using their local facilities.

Lead GP for Eden, Rachel Preston said: “The exercise on referral scheme is a great way of supporting patients to improve their own health and wellbeing as well as improve their recovery from certain illnesses and conditions.

“By using the facilities already available in our community, we are able to provide much needed service to our patients in Eden.”

The scheme has been funded by the leading commissioner of health services in Cumbria, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in in Carlisle and Allerdale they are working with Carlisle Leisure Ltd to provide exercise support and tips aimed at helping patients to carry on being more active after the 12-week course is completed.

For £2 per visit, patients can use the facilities at the leisure centres in Keswick, Cockermouth and Workington, the Wave in Maryport and G&S Fitness Gym in Wigton with support from Carlisle Leisure Ltd’s Clinical Exercise Instructors Ian Harkness and Geoff Haugh.

Wigton’s G&S Gym owner, Gary Thwayts has provided the use of his gym for free to the scheme, where husband and wife, Jean and Samuel Capstick have been attending Exercise on Referral sessions together.

Jean, 61 said: “What I like about coming to these sessions at the gym is that Ian makes sure you don’t do too much, yet you do enough to improve. I can really feel the benefits. And my husband (Samuel) who has asthma problems is really feeling the benefit since starting here.

“Ian is there to support and give advice, so you feel comfortable and confident that you are doing the exercise right. And the atmosphere is really lovely. It’s friendly and we really enjoy coming.”

Samuel, 58 said: “We have felt the benefits so much and enjoy coming here that we are planning to take up membership and continue after the 12-week course is completed.”

Keith Roberts, 65 who has rheumatoid arthritis is 10 weeks into his 12-week course. Keith said: “I can feel a real improvement in my basic fitness. And I have noticed if I miss a week I really miss coming.

“Coming to the sessions provides a discipline to exercise. Getting started on any exercise plan is the hardest part, and coming here has made it easier.

“As well as feeling better physically, it has the added social benefit. I come down and meet people and it really does make you feel better.

“Now I’ve started exercising I plan to continue. I am planning to join and come down a couple of times a week.”

A Clinical Exercise Instructor, Ian Harkness gives everyone on the scheme a start and end assessment, so that their plan is tailored to their needs and abilities.

Ian said: “I keep each session to a maximum of 15-20 people so I know exactly what everyone is doing. We start with the assessment to ensure we know the fitness and capabilities of each person, and develop a programme designed around them.

“People can be referred by their GP, community nurse, a member of the STINT team or self-referral. We have people with neurological conditions, issues around obesity and a wide range of other conditions who benefit from the 12-week course. And the gym is for everyone - from 18 up to 80 years old.”

Health Care Assistant at Wigton Medical Practice, Deborah Slan said: “We have referred a lot of patients to the gym and have seen people really improve their own conditions through the Exercise on Referral course over the past two years. Patients with complex health needs have their referral overseen by their GP and Ian gives everyone a detailed assessment to ensure they don’t over stretch themselves, yet benefit from the exercises.

“There is also anecdotal evidence that exercise can also improve the mood as well as the body. Anyone wishing to know more about the scheme can ask their practice nurse or GP.”

NHS Cumbria CCG Commissioning Lead, Sally Jenkins said: “Information collected over the two years the scheme has been running shows that this form of programme supports people with a wide range of health conditions by providing professional knowledge, to help boost confidence and also help people plan realistic targets which they can aim for to continue with after their programme ends."

The Eden Exercise on Referral scheme with North Country Leisure will be held at Penrith leisure Centre on Tuesdays 10.30am-11.30am, 11.30am-12.30pm and Thursdays 12non-1pm and 1pm-2pm, and at Appleby Leisure Centre on Fridays 10am-11am and 11am-12noon.

Clients will be assessed to ensure they are on the correct programme and the cost to the patient is £2 per session. At the end of the 15 weeks the clients will be discharged and guided to the next stage to sit their specific needs, health and wellbeing for a free three-year membership or other activities.

To be referred into the service contact your GP practice, rehabilitation or specialist nursing team.

Posted on Tuesday 15th April 2014


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