The Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT) officially launched a new project on Friday last, November 18, 2022. ‘Link to Wellbeing’ is a two  years project funded by NHS Charities Together and aims to support individuals waiting for orthopaedic surgery to maximise their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in preparation for surgery.

The project is led by the WHSCT Health Improvement, Equality and Involvement Department in partnership with WHSCT Trauma and Orthopaedic service and 10 local Community and Voluntary Sector organisations who will deliver ‘Prehabilitation’ style programmes to individuals on waiting lists for hip or knee replacement surgery.

The Old Library Trust was chosen as one of the pilot areas for the project with the aim to deliver a further 23 8 week community-based programmes. These programmes will be delivered throughout the geography of the WHSCT in community settings and will cover a number of different topics to include; movement and mobility, healthy eating, pain management, peer support, mental health and condition management.

Chief Executive for the Western Health & Social Care Trust, Neil Guckian comments, “It can be challenging for patients maintaining their health as they await surgery. We hope the ‘Link to Wellbeing’ project will be an extension of care for people on our orthopaedic waiting lists. The project will offer individuals the opportunity to maximise their overall health with our partners in their community. By ensuring people are in the best health prior to surgery we can hope for a more positive recovery post surgery and better health in the longer term.”

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “We are thrilled that Western Health and Social Trust will be able to provide vital additional support to patients awaiting orthopaedic surgery, thanks to generous donations from the public. We hope that the project will make a tangible difference across the region, helping patients to approach, and as a result recover, from surgery in the best way possible.”

Cathy Glass, Nursing Services Manager Trauma and Orthopaedics comments, “The Trauma & Orthopaedic team in the Trust are delighted to see this project commence. We are very aware of the impact of long waiting times for joint replacement surgery and how this affects patient’s quality of life.

We hope that this project will give support to those waiting joint replacement, help optimise them for their procedure and hence help them benefit more from surgery when it is completed.

Musculo-skeletal conditions don’t only affect bones and muscles, patient’s general health and well-being can also suffer.

We look forward to hearing the impact of the program and wish those taking part and all the many organisations supporting the project every success.”

Sabrina Dunne, Programme coordinator at Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre comments, “Delighted that we have been able to support individuals pre surgery with the Links to Wellbeing programme providing social, physical and mental wellbeing support.  Whilst people are on waiting lists for surgery it is important that they are keeping themselves well and building strength for their recovery.  Having these services accessible to people in their own communities is so important. We are delighted to have partnered with the WHSCT to deliver this vital programme.”

Programme beneficiary, Tracy Macrory comments; “There is something very comforting about being in group where you can chat about the things you are struggling with and people can relate to what you are saying without thinking you’re moaning. I’m thoroughly enjoying the programme and just sorry there are not more like it”

Teresa Fox, programme beneficiary comments; “The programme was brilliant and I haven’t missed a session from yoga to sleep therapy, every session was worthwhile and I’m so glad I attended.”

For more information on the project, please contact Claire Hamilton, project co-ordinator on 028 7186 5127.