York St John University launches new prehab service in collaboration with York Hospital 

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and York St John University have joined forces to launch a prehabilitation service for surgical patients. Exercise and diet advice is offered alongside input from anaesthetists and surgeons in a unique collaboration to provide the new service.   

 Prehabilitation is the process of optimising patient fitness for major surgery.  This helps to maximise the chances of favourable outcomes following complex surgery and reduces the risks associated with this type of surgery, such as hernias.  Hernias occur when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue.     

Patients awaiting complex abdominal wall surgery will attend a 6-week multi-disciplinary prehab programme run by the YSJActive team at the state-of-the-art York St John University Sports Park.  Patients will receive input from a range of disciplines, including: exercise practitioner, exercise physiologist, dietician, anaesthetist, and surgeon.     

 Doctors at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been involved in research projects looking at the effect of prehabilitation for many years.  

Dr David Yates, Consultant Anaesthetist, said: “We hope this new service will help patients waiting for surgery for their complex abdominal wall hernias to get fitter and stronger before their operation. We know that fitter patients recover more quickly and more completely after major surgery and this service has been co-designed with patients to allow them to do just that.  

“It’s one thing being told by a surgeon or anaesthetist that you need to get fitter, lighter, healthier before surgery but we all know it’s another thing actually doing it! This service will help patients to take some control of their own treatment and surgical outcome and put themselves in the best possible position to have their procedure.” 

Andrew Hill, Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at York St John University said: said: “We are really excited about our collaboration with York and Scarborough NHS Trust. The service will be a focus for research collaboration and funding, and eventually offer opportunities for practical student and staff involvement. We hope that our partnership with the Trust will continue to blossom, and we can expand our services in the future.”     

Becky Barrett, Head of YSJActive said: “At YSJActive we’re continually looking for new ways to use physical activity to support communities, and we’re delighted to collaborate in this unique way. This service, with the exercise programme that we’ll provide, should be of real benefit to many patients awaiting complex surgery.  In turn, this will reduce waiting times and help the recovery process.”   

Find out more about YSJActive https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/health-and-wellbeing/ysjactive/