"Closing of exercise classes for arthritis sufferers"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital / Pain Management

(as a service user),

I wanted to share my opinion about the way in which exercise classes to help maintain mobility and manage pain for RA sufferers have been handled. Medway have run drop-in exercise classes for a number of years, recently they announced that the classes will be stopped from 11 Sept. The classes are supported by a physiotherapist with whom people can discuss issues related to their condition, the physiotherapist is then able to suggest exercises that may help or advise the patients to seek further help from the consultant.

In my opinion this has worked well.

The proposal from September is that people will be offered a one off 1: 1 appointment with a physiotherapist who will be able to provide tailored help.

I understand the pressures on budgets and resources; my concern is the way in which this has been ‘announced’. We have been told this verbally, in a noisy environment with few opportunities to ask questions, nothing in writing. I got the impression that they wanted to focus on self-help groups but am concerned they are taking this too far.

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Responses

Response from Suzanne Brooker, Head of Patient Experience, Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for your feedback on the recent changes to our drop- in classes held at Medway maritime hospital. We were keen to let everyone know promptly about the planned changes to the classes and the arrangements for the future and felt it was important that this was done face to face; giving people a chance to ask senior physiotherapy managers questions directly and discuss any queries.

In addition, we also sent a follow- up letter to confirm the changes discussed and a further letter to people who usually attend but who were not at the class that day to explain the details. Apologies if you have not received the letter we sent- please contact our customer care manager on 01634 382266 or medwaycustomercare@nhs.net and she will be able to send you another copy so that you have the information discussed and the details of how to arrange your one to one assessment, if you have not had a chance to do this yet.

As you know the physiotherapy team will continue to support patients with rheumatoid arthritis and to help them with setting up a patient led support group. We hope you will get involved and ensure that the group meets the needs of local people.

Thank you

Sharon Cranfield

Customer care manager at Medway Community healthcare.

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