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Therapy team LEAP into action


The Gloucestershire Hospitals Therapy service is working with local leisure centre GL1, (Aspire Trust) to deliver LEAP (Lower Extremity Activity Programme) for people who have accessed physiotherapy with arthritic  hip and knee pain in Gloucester. This innovative programme is led by a physiotherapist and a gym instructor and has been and running at Leisure@Cheltenham, where it has been supported by GAT (Gloucestershire Arthritis Trust) since April 2014 and has demonstrated good outcomes. 

The sessions include supervised exercise and education covering the benefits of exercise, weight management, effective use of pain relief medication and managing flare ups of pain. During the programme a concession card is available to access the facilities at GL1 to support them in continuing their exercise.

Helen Chidgey , Health and Fitness Manager at GL1, says:       

“It’s great to be working in partnership with the Gloucestershire Hospitals Therapy Service to deliver this programme to support people in Gloucestershire”

Joanne Berry, Fitness Instructor at GL1, says:

“After hearing the affirmations from those currently on the programme, it makes it a very rewarding experience to be associated with the LEAP programme.  Amanda Freeman-Hicks has been very informative and has made every effort to facilitate the smooth running of the programme.  I’m looking forward to working with our close partnership with the NHS to continually develop and improve the lives of people in Gloucestershire that will be part of the programme.”

Physiotherapists Allysun Gore and Amanda Freeman-Hicks who lead the programme at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital say:

“Research has shown that an approach combining exercise and learning skills to help cope with symptoms has long term effects and that doing this in a group further enhances the benefits. We have shown that the programme helps to increase patients’ confidence and facilitate the long term changes to lifestyle that can help to manage the symptoms of arthritis.”

Feedback to date has shown that participants are increasing their physical activity and have reduced anxiety about exercising while benefitting from the support of their group. Comments from participants include:

“The programme has been excellent.  Good information from the Physiotherapist and achievable exercises.  It has reinforced to me the enormous benefits of exercise and that it cannot do harm.  Super trainer! Motivational ++”

“Working within a group with similar issues, no pressure placed on us, continual encouragement has helped in a rise in self-confidence.”

“Brilliant course which has resulted in me meeting my goal of drastically reduced pain!” 

This programme is helping to deliver objectives outlined in the NHS England Five Year Forward View for managing long term conditions including enhancing self-care, supporting healthier behaviour and working in partnership.