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Appeal launched to support long Covid patients with £20,000 gym at Lymington hospital

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A £20,000 fundraising appeal has been launched to give patients suffering long-Covid access to state-of-the-art physiotherapy equipment at Lymington hospital.

The initiative, led by the Friends of Lymington Hospital, aims to equip the physiotherapy facility with high quality equipment to speed up recovery, and give hard working staff access to a gym at quiet times.

When fully operational, the physiotherapy gym will be used by up to 400 patients each week.

Arthur England, joint chair of the Friends of Lymington Hospital, said: “The Friends need your help to raise £20,000 to support the hospital physio squad and create this upgraded facility to improve patient care.

A target of £20,000 has been set for equipment at Lymington hospital (photo: Steve West)
A target of £20,000 has been set for equipment at Lymington hospital (photo: Steve West)

"It’s a valuable resource to additionally provide a modern fitness suite to benefit staff health and wellbeing.”

Fellow joint chair Mike Hodges added: “During the pandemic, we have not been able to deliver our normal volunteer services in the hospital or carry out community fundraising events.

"We are asking for your donations to support vital project and thank those of you who contributed to our recent heart echocardiogram scanner appeal."

The five-figure wish list includes a smart indoor bike, treadmill and rower to build stamina, plus an adjustable cable machine, weights and a TRX system to improve recovery from injuries and post-op rehab.

Also on the list are gym balls, an agility ladder, wobble cushion and a bosu ball to help patients with strength and balance issues.

Alaine Brooks, musculoskeletal physiotherapy team leader at the hospital, said: “We currently have a limited selection of ‘well used’ equipment that is nearing the end of its useful life and we now need to urgently upgrade our facilities.

“Adding modern equipment will allow us to treat our patients more effectively to improve their strength, balance and flexibility, whether recovering from injuries, operations, stroke or the effect of isolation and lack of exercise during the lockdowns.

"Indeed, the ongoing impact of long-Covid is proving a challenge for many patients and we need new equipment to help them to recover faster.”

The upgraded gym will enable physiotherapists to support patients with specially tailored exercise programmes, including stretches, balancing, strengthening routines and aerobic exercises.

Ms Brooks added: “Cases range from minor fractures and breaks, everyday accidents and sports injuries to major trauma patients such as road traffic accidents.

"We also deal with post-op rehab and ongoing instruction to patients who need a more extensive programme to build strength, including Covid recovery exercises.”

Users will also be supported to maintain exercise programmes at home. Outside patient hours the gym will also be available for hospital staff to use.

Patients typically arrive at the hospital’s physio department as referrals from GPs, as existing hospital inpatients, step down patients from Southampton General and referrals from community physio teams.

To support the appeal visit www.lymingtonhospitalfriends.org

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