CUMBRIAN and Lancashire patients are encouraged to keep up healthy lifestyles over Christmas.

Set For Surgery is a unique system allowing GP surgeries to link up with hospitals providing treatment for their patients, giving patients targeted actions to work on with their GP before their operation.

The programme was first piloted in Morecambe Bay in 2020 before being rolled out to everyone on waiting lists in Lancashire and South Cumbria in November 2022 following positive patient feedback.

People who are a healthy weight and do not smoke recover better from surgery and have an improved quality of life after their operation.

During the Christmas period, people may be tempted to indulge in less healthy lifestyles while they wait.

The website can signpost those on NHS waiting lists to health advice and services to support them in their pre-operative journey, and is available 24/7 over the festive season.

Leading the programme, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay consultant general surgeon, Wendy Craig, said: "We know over-indulging can be tempting over the Christmas period, but patients who are healthier have improved surgical outcomes and also require less follow-up treatment and interventions from the NHS. Following the Set For Surgery programme benefits both patients and the health service.”

When a patient is referred for treatment, the hospital or treatment provider uploads information on how the patient can get healthier for their surgery to a dashboard.

197 GP surgeries (94 per cent) in Lancashire and South Cumbria have signed up to an information-sharing agreement with the hospitals, and will have access to this dashboard so that they can work with their patients to get them Set For Surgery.

David Wrigley, GP Partner, Ash Trees Surgery in Carnforth, said: “Set for Surgery has been a huge success with some patients losing a few stone in weight, blood sugar levels falling and many now fit and able to have their surgery which is safer for them as they are healthier pre-operatively.

"This shows how general practice and hospital colleagues can work closely together for the benefit of our patients and I hope we can undertake more projects like this.”

Andy Knox, Associate Medical Director Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board said: “As a GP I've seen first-hand the benefit to both patients and colleagues with this new approach, and improving the health of patients on the waiting list will have a knock-on effect to their overall health following surgery. The steps patients take can be replicated with-in family groups and improve the health of our region.”