AS OPERATION TRANSFORMATION gets into full swing on Ireland’s television sets, Mayo doctors have been inspired to get tough with their own patients.
GPs across the county have just launched a new Exercise Referral programme which they hope will encourage locals to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Patients referred to the scheme will take part in a 12-week exercise programme at the Breaffy Club in Castlebar, run by fully trained exercise co-ordinators “at a mutually agreeable cost”.
According to the HSE West, patients often want to be more active but aren’t sure “how to go about it”.
“The common reasons for referrals are high blood pressure, osteoporosis, stress, asthma, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, depression, back pain and high cholesterol,” the HSE added.
Participants can expect to undertake an initial assessment so the co-ordinator can focus on a type of activity that they will enjoy.
“It will be based on patient requirements and time commitments,” explained co-ordinator Cathy Geraghty.
“Over the 12 weeks, support will be given to patients to engage in changing behaviours, as well as advice regarding medical conditions.”
She added that on completion of the 3-month course, patients will have the skills and motivation required to stay fit and healthy.
One of Cathy’s patients, Christine, said it has been helpful to have someone who is “highly skilled” to work with.
She said that by adopting an activity regime, she has lost 12 kilogrammes in just two months.
“Not only did I mange to improve my health but I feel that I now have the ability to continue being active on my own,” she concluded.
Local doctor Brid O’Malley described the scheme as “wonderful”.
“It will provide patients with the information, knowledge and, most importantly, motivation to get active and to stay active. It will hopefully assist many people in the prevention and management of chronic disease,” she explained.
Anyone who wishes to sign up for the programme can ask their GP to refer them to Castlebar’s local exercise coordinator, Cathy Geraghty, in the Breaffy club on 094-90-44150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any GP who would like to register onto the programme should contact Paul Gillen, HSE West Health Promotion Services on 091-737261 or at email@example.com