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Exercise on Referral

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). The scheme provides 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.  

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 fit 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.