PATIENTS at a North-East hospital are being helped to regain their fitness thanks to charity donations.

THE physiotherapy department at the University Hospital of North Durham spent £15,000 of charitable funds on renovating and upgrading its patient gym, and the response from patients has been excellent.

The money has come from the official charity of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, enabling several pieces of equipment to be added to the gym. These include a spinning bike; a leg press; a squat rack, bar, and Olympic weights; kettle bells; a bariatric bike; and a bariatric treadmill.

Chris Rabban, a senior physiotherapist who has been with the County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust for ten years, and who oversees hospital’s physiotherapy clinics, said: “The new equipment has been a big help in our work to help people reclaim their fitness.

“It means we can supervise patients in-person as they train, instead of sending them away to train in a different gym on their own.”

Emily Holden, one of Chris’s colleagues, added: “We can now work directly with the patients in a gym setting, so we can monitor their progress more easily.

“Because they can come and use the equipment independently, they’re much more likely to do the regimes we prescribe on their own. The result is that the hospital’s rates for full rehabilitation have increased dramatically.”

Lisa Ryan, 24, is a patient who has noticed the differences the new equipment has made. She damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee playing football for Sheffield United Women, but she is on her way to recovery thanks to her physiotherapy regime.

Lisa, who lives in Chester-le-Street, said: “I’ve damaged my ACL twice now. The first time was a couple of years ago, and the second was just 3 months ago, so I’ve used the gym both before and after the renovation.

“The new equipment has definitely made a difference. It’s far easier to train now, and with a bit of hard work, I’ll hopefully be playing football again within the next nine months.”