Nuffield Health’s unique post-operative rehab programme helps Bristol rugby captain

Major surgery of any kind can be a daunting prospect for the patient, not only due to the procedure itself, but also the recovery. To support patients on their return to full fitness, Nuffield Health offers Recovery Plus, an enhanced recovery programme, which uniquely provides extended post-operative physiotherapy treatment after hip, knee or spinal surgery, at no additional cost.

Recovery Plus brings together a broad range of healthcare services across Nuffield Health’s Bristol Hospital and its network of Fitness & Wellbeing Clubs, providing the necessary support to get well and stay healthy after surgery.

Andrea George, physiotherapy manager at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, highlights the benefits of Recovery Plus for the patient. She says, “Everyone’s recovery is different, which is why we provide an individually tailored programme, working with the patient to understand what they want to get out of their recovery. Our priority is getting you back to doing the things you love.”

Patient Murray Jones was the captain of Bristol Bisons RFC when he suffered a serious injury on the pitch last year, rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the final of the UK Gay and Inclusive Rugby Championship in Southampton. Murray explains: “The biggest effect was I couldn’t play any sport. At that stage, rugby was very much my life because I was the captain, and even though it was finals day, we had a tournament in Amsterdam coming up, which I had to miss.”

A friend suggested Murray make an appointment to see consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Jonathan Webb, who specialises in sports-related knee injuries, and whose practice is based at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital. Murray says: “I saw Mr Webb within a couple of weeks, and the surgery was booked within a month of my injury.”

He continues: “The operation was amazing. I didn’t even stay the night! The whole process was incredible, from the hospital to the care afterwards, to the follow-up physio. I cannot fault any of it. It was absolutely brilliant.

“For me, the crucial thing with surgery like this is the aftercare. It doesn’t matter how good the operation is if you haven’t got good rehab. My main goal was to get back to playing rugby within a year, and I did it within nine months. There is no way I could’ve done it without that support.”

Included with the Recovery Plus programme is three months’ membership at a Nuffield Health gym, where you are allocated a personal recovery coach, who will tailor your exercise plan to meet your needs in line with your consultant’s and physiotherapist’s advice. Andrea says, “We now have a far more consistent, high quality approach for the patient journey through Recovery Plus, using a newly developed app to offer an enhanced method of tracking a patient’s progress.”

When offered the Recovery Plus programme, Murray decided to take advantage of the opportunity, joining the Nuffield Health gym in Clifton. He explains: “I had a chat with Andrea about it, as to what the best thing was, and given the fact there’s a gym here, there’s the physios, it made sense. I know of other people who’ve had ACL surgery, and after one or two physio sessions, they get left. I don’t think that’s very good aftercare. It is the kind of surgery where you need it, even if you’re not playing sport. It’s so important.

“I had my operation in April last year, and I started Recovery Plus in June. I had the free three months’ gym membership, and then I just kept going.

“Without the operation, I could not have played rugby again. That’s the bottom line. I’m a very active person, and there’s just no way that I could’ve done any of that. Also, it’s about your future. I’m 43, which I consider young, and I want to have an active life for a long time yet. That’s why I wanted to get it sorted quickly. You hear these stories of people leaving it a long time, and it’s never the same again.”

Murray speaks enthusiastically about the support he received from Nuffield Health. “It’s all the way down,” he says. “Mr Webb is an amazing surgeon, so I had complete faith in him, and the physiotherapists. The gym’s great as well. It’s fantastic to have something like that, so if anyone else is in that situation, they should take it up. It’s a no brainer.”

For more information, call 0117 911 5339 or visit nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/bristol

Main image: Murray (back row, 4th from the right) with his team mates at Bristol Bisons RFC