A new initiative in Morecambe Bay between GPs and hospital services aims to help patients waiting for surgery to improve their general health before their operation.

This new approach has been captured in a Patient Charter, which invites patients to set goals for themselves.

It is hoped that this type of 'prehab' will improve their own health and support the NHS by helping the maximum number of patients become fit and healthy more quickly following surgery.

Some treatments, especially surgical operations, can affect your body for several months afterwards and prior poor health reduces your body’s ability to recover from treatment.

Dr Rahul Keith, a GP at Lancaster Medical Practice and part of the team developing ‘Set for Surgery’ welcomed the new approach.

He said: “New Year is a time when we all think about positive changes we can make in our lives.

"For those waiting for an operation or treatment, or who might need this soon, here is a great opportunity to begin to make changes that will help you face and recover well from whatever treatment lies ahead for you.

"You will be given as much support as you need to reach your goals.”

Dr Wendy Craig, Lead Consultant General Surgeon, at University Hospital Morecambe Bay Trust also commented: “We know many patients have been disappointed this year that their planned operation hasn’t gone ahead and some will now be waiting for many months.

"Patients can also wait longer to see their GP and in turn, come to our clinics.

"As we start a new year with hope for better times, I’d urge all patients to take up this opportunity to improve their general health.

"When they do finally get their appointment, they will be in the best possible health to recover well from their treatment."

The Patient Charter has been developed through consultation with more than 1000 previous patients, local Healthwatch partners in South Cumbria and in Lancashire, as well as key individuals from the Surgical and Anaesthetic care group in the Trust and GP practices across Morecambe Bay.