Nuffield Health to expand exercise programme for cystic fibrosis patients in NHS hospitals

Nuffield Health, one of the leading not-for-profit UK healthcare organisations, announced today that it will be expanding its unique exercise based programme for young cystic fibrosis patients to more NHS hospitals across England, as well as support young people with other diseases.

For five years Nuffield Health have been running a cystic fibrosis programme in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital enabling over 100 children and teenagers to benefit from the exercise based initiative. The programme provides free Nuffield Health gym memberships and personal training sessions to both the young patient and their parent or carer, with the aim of slowing the rate of decline and reducing the amount of time children and teenagers have to stay in hospital for treatment. Research has shown that exercise can be as effective as some medicine and helps to slow down deterioration of the life-threatening disease which affects the lungs and other internal organs.

Recognised at the 2016 European Cystic Fibrosis Conference for being a successful exercise model, four other hospitals – Leeds Children’s Hospital, Royal Brompton, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, will now work alongside Nuffield Health personal trainers, physiologists and physiotherapists. Support for the free programme will also be given by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust around a number of key areas including promotion and marketing of the programme, support in creating a best practice model for others to follow and potential support from health and wellbeing grants.

To date 80 Nuffield Health personal trainers have undergone specialist training, delivering almost 2,000 personal training sessions and now more will be trained to support the expansion. There are also plans to grow the programme to support young people who are diagnosed with other diseases such as cancer, with a pilot project currently being developed with Teenage Cancer Trust.

One young patient who already benefits from the Nuffield Health Cystic Fibrosis Programme is three year old Edith O’Grady from Brentwood, Essex, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in January 2014 when she was three weeks old. Edith’s mum Claire comments: “We first heard about the Nuffield Health Cystic Fibrosis Programme through our wonderful Great Ormond Street physiotherapist who was holding an education day. From that moment, Edith started attending the Nuffield Health Chelmsford Fitness & Wellbeing Gym and now regularly uses the swimming pool. When she is old enough she will also have personal training.

It’s been such a positive influence working with Nuffield Health, not only because of being able to use the facilities but by attending a gym it’s highlighting that exercise is the 'norm' for everyone and it shows Edith positive role models in keeping bodies fit and well. I would definitely recommend this programme to other parents, children and teenagers.”

Ashleigh Ahlquist, Nuffield Health Fitness Quality Lead said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Nuffield Health to support more children and teenagers with cystic fibrosis. We have learnt so much from working with Great Ormond Street Hospital and we see every day the difference an exercise based programme makes to children and teenagers lives. We are hopeful that in the future we can replicate this model and support more young people with other diseases.”

Last updated Saturday 17 December 2016

First published on Saturday 17 December 2016