Celebrating 20 years of LEEP

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Patients and staff gathered at Southmead Hospital yesterday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Lung Exercise and Education Programme (LEEP).

Over the years more than 2,000 patients with chronic respiratory disease have benefitted from taking part in the programme which was launched at Frenchay Hospital in 1994 and moved across to Southmead in May this year.

LEEP helps patients improve their quality of life and self-management of their condition.

It does this by using exercise to increase fitness and education to increase knowledge.

The LEEP team celebrating 20 years of successThe six-week programme is only the start to this process so the team spends time with each patient at the end of the programme discussing the most suitable way for them to continue exercising.

The programme is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of physiotherapists, physiotherapy assistants, respiratory nurses and psychologists, with input from occupational therapists, dieticians and respiratory consultants.

Dr David Smith, Respiratory Consultant, leads the programme for North Bristol NHS Trust.

He said: “LEEP is tailored to the individual patient and the end result is that they feel more comfortable in terms of managing their disease and coping better with their condition.”

Victor Batt (75) from Patchway has suffered from breathing difficulties all his adult life and was recently diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

He completed the programme three months ago and says it has “changed his life”.

He added: “I live 10 minutes away from my local shops and it was taking me about 50 minutes to get there because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. Now I can be there and back in 50 minutes. I’ve even joined a gym. It’s given me my confidence back.”

Around 50 patients – past and present took part in an event yesterday where Dr Roger White – the clinician who founded the programme in 1994 – unveiled a special plaque to commemorate the occasion.