COVID-19 specialist recovery programme expands to include Manchester and Newcastle

Nuffield Health has launched a free 12-week programme in partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We have launched a specialist 12-week rehabilitation programme in Manchester and Newcastle to support patients in their recovery after they have received medical treatment for COVID-19. 

The programme blends together physical therapy and mental health support and will be run in partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, as well as other trusts across the UK, before being developed into a national programme.

Patients are currently discharged from hospital with no formal recovery plan, which can result in a longer recovery process, and prolonged side effects. Patients will be referred onto the programme by the Trust, before being triaged, online, by one of our a specially trained Health physiotherapist.

Over the 12-week programme, patients will work with a rehabilitation specialist for personalised advice and on a recovery plan, consisting of a six week virtual programme of at home exercises, before moving to one of our fitness and wellbeing centre. Patients will also receive access to on-demand workouts, weekly support calls and be part of a cohort of participants where they can share their experiences.

Evidence from previous epidemics, like SARS and MERS, demonstrate it can take years for some patients to recover. The effects of COVID-19 leaves some patients with lasting physical damage and scarring to their lungs, resulting in difficulty with breathing and mobility. It also can exacerbate underlying health issues, like heart disease, diabetes and mental health conditions. NICE guidance indicates out of hospital rehabilitation strategies, following discharge after a critical illness, have been shown to help to improve patient recovery and long-term side effects by up to 50%. Our programme has been designed by a wide range of clinical teams, including respiratory experts, physiotherapists, emotional wellbeing and clinical exercise specialists.

Our Charity and Medical Director, Dr Davina Deniszczyc, said: “We know that some patients who have contracted COVID-19 are going to need specialist support for their rehabilitation. As the UK’s largest healthcare charity, our purpose is to build a healthier nation and we’re proud to partner with the NHS to offer patients this free pilot to help their recovery. 

“We are in a unique position among the fitness sector to utilise our broad range of expertise, across clinical, fitness and mental health to develop a programme to support the nation as it recovers from COVID-19. We will be capturing data throughout the programme, specifically at weeks 0, 6 and 12, to enable outcomes to be measured and evaluate the success of the programme. We will use these learnings to build and develop a national programme, sharing the data with the NHS and other healthcare providers.”

Professor Jane Eddleston, Joint Group Executive Medical Director, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of NHS England Adult Critical Care Clinical Reference Group, adds: “Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to be working with Nuffield Health to deliver this unique personalised programme of rehabilitation to our patients who have developed critical illness consequent on COVID. Recovery of patients after a period of critical illness is recognised as a major challenge and this programme will significantly help our patients to recover their health.”

Associate Director of Allied Health Professionals & Psychological Therapies, Ewan Dick, from The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust comments: “We have provided treatment for many hundreds of patients requiring hospital care over the last six months and there is a growing pressure to address the  varied recovery needs of those people in the community who can experience prolonged side effects  Our specialist rehabilitation Therapists have worked closely with Nuffield Health on this project  and feel this programme will offer a significant benefit to the participants and provides vital additional rehabilitation capacity as we work together to recover from the impact of COVID-19." 

Last updated Wednesday 13 January 2021

First published on Friday 13 November 2020