An innovative scheme which makes sure patients are in the best possible health before, during and after their cancer treatment with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is celebrating awards success.

The prehabilitation service is run in partnership with Alvie Health. It helps patients to optimise their health before treatment and enhances their recovery afterwards to minimise the long-term effects of cancer.

Patients can take part in face-to-face exercise classes and digital health coaching, as well as accessing other specialist support tailored to their individual needs and goals.

This supports them to become more active, improve their physical and emotional health before cancer treatment and increase their confidence and quality of life. As a result, complications are reduced and patients recover faster.

Since its launch, 71% of people using the programme have increased their physical activity, while 24% have noticed a decrease in anxiety.

Complications after surgery have also reduced which means that patients now spend an average of one less day in hospital, saving around £580 per patient.

As a result of this success, the initiative has been named ‘Partnership of the Year’ in the HTN Digital Awards and won the ‘Integration Excellence’ accolade at the Macmillan Professionals Excellence Awards. It was also shortlisted as a finalist for an HSJ award in the ‘Digitising Patient Care’ category.

Louise Smith, Macmillan deputy lead cancer nurse at ESNEFT, said: “Prehabilitation is important because it empowers people with cancer to take control of their own care and leads to a better recovery and fewer complications.

“We are delighted that our work with Alvie is making a positive difference to patients and has been recognised with these awards.”

The project is part-funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, which pays for the face-to-face exercise classes.

Mandy Jordan, associate director for charities and voluntary services with ESNEFT, said: “We are proud to support this important project as making sure that patients are in the best possible health before they begin cancer treatment can have a significant impact on their recovery."

Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity has launched a Wellbeing Fund to help pay for additional services offered at ESNEFT’s Cancer Wellbeing Centres. More information about how to support our appeal is available here.