The MSK health hubs will provide exercise, rehabilitation and wellbeing support to help people maintain mobility and reduce pain, as well as improve the health of patients before and after surgery.
The hubs will operate in Bromley at the Spa at Beckenham and Walnuts Leisure Centre in Orpington and at Hatchford Brook Golf Centre and Gym in the Midlands.
The launch forms part of ukactive’s two-year research project, led by a health and fitness consortium including Good Boost, ESCAPE-pain, Orthopaedic Research UK and Arthritis Action, which aims to identify how to transform leisure facilities into MSK hubs that can be accessed in every community.
Local residents can join the six-week health programme through self-referral or via a health or social prescriber. The programme consists of a digital health assessment followed by targeted exercise sessions both in the gym and in the pool.
Diane Friday, Active Lifestyles Programme Manager at Mytime Active explains: “We take great pride in contributing to this project and see a significant potential for leisure facilities to enhance healthcare access, thereby alleviating the strain on the NHS.
“Mytime Active started delivering ESCAPE-Pain in 2018, commissioned by the Health Innovation Network with Sport England Active Ageing funding, in order to bring the programme, normally delivered within a hospital setting, out into community venues.
Mytime Active has already seen hundreds of local residents successfully complete the programme with positive outcomes.
It therefore made sense for us join the ukactive MSK hub pilot programme, allowing us to help even more people going forward, using both the ESCAPE-Pain and GoodBoost methods.”
Mytime Active has upskilled five members of its team, with further staff due to complete the training shortly, to help the leisure trust to deliver both the GoodBoost and ESCAPE-Pain programmes, both dryside and in their pools.
Friday says: “MSK conditions are the primary cause of disability among older adults, with more than 20 million people in the UK experiencing related problems, such as arthritis, back or knee ache and chronic pain.
“Whilst this initiative can’t cure these conditions, it does go a long way to help people manage their pain and improve their mobility.
It is an alternative to surgery for the estimated one million people who are waiting for NHS orthopaedic treatments.
Patients describe first-hand, positive experiences of the ESCAPE-Pain programme including becoming more confident in their ability to use exercise as a self-management strategy.
“When struggling with chronic pain, exercise can sometimes seem scary, as people can worry it might cause more damage, but on the contrary, targeted exercises led by our health experts can help alleviate symptoms instead.
The programme will monitor participants’ progress and report back on the health benefits, looking at their increased mobility, their reduction in pain and their overall wellbeing.”
On completing the six-week long programme, participants will be encouraged to continue with their exercise by joining one of Mytime Active’s other supportive programmes, such as Fresh Start Friendly, with a discounted health membership.