Suffolk and North East Essex
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Stay well for surgery or treatment – Ipswich and east Suffolk

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Tips and resources for keeping fit and well while waiting for your treatment or procedure in the Ipswich and east Suffolk area

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has produced a leaflet about how to keep fit and well while waiting for your treatment or procedure. To view or download it, click the following link:

Tips for keeping fit and well while waiting for your treatment or procedure leaflet (PDF)

The Royal College of Anaesthetists also has a number of useful resources on its website to help people prepare for surgery:

Website: https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/patient-information/preparing-surgery-fitter-better-sooner

How are you coping? If you’re waiting for hospital treatment, or if you’ve had a procedure, click the following link to share your experiences with Healthwatch Suffolk:

Website: https://healthwatchsuffolk.co.uk/electivecaresurvey/ 

The content below is also available as a booklet from the PALS team at Ipswich Hospital.
An Easy Read version can be requested from the Learning Disability Specialist Nurses at the hospital.

Physical activity resources

It’s important to keep active while you are waiting for surgery. Your heart and lungs have to work harder after an operation to help your body heal. This will be a lot easier if you are already active. Many organisations can help people with poor mobility to increase their activity levels.

Allied Health Professionals Suffolk

Access to physiotherapy, self-help advice and activities for problems with muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs:

Website: https://www.ahpsuffolk.co.uk/Home/SelfHelp.aspx 

Telephone: 0333 043 3966*

Social prescribing for multicultural communities

BSC Multicultural Services

BSC Multicultural Services supports more than 50 nationalities in Suffolk and runs health walks, chair based exercise sessions, swimming, football and a number of other activities in a culturally sensitive environment:

Website: www.bscmulticulturalservices.org.uk 

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 429740 or 01473 400081

OneLife Suffolk

OneLife Suffolk provides a variety of free programmes to help local people live healthier lives. These include ‘Health Walks’ which are group walks led by trained volunteers all across Suffolk and a ‘Get Help To Get Active’ programme which supports those with a long-term health condition to get more active:

Website: (Wellbeing walks) https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/services/wellbeing-walks/ 

Website: (Get help to get active) https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/services/get-help-to-get-active/

Telephone: 01473 718193

Active Suffolk

Active Suffolk can offer support and advice on accessing local physical activities across Suffolk regardless of age, ability or experience.

Patients on the elective surgery waiting list registered at Hadleigh, Bildeston, Needham Market, Holbrook & Shotley, Constable, Burlington Road and Barrack Lane surgeries can also access support from an Active Suffolk Physical Activity Advisor over a three-month period. Click on the referral form link below for more information:

Active Wellbeing Service 50+ referral form: https://www.activesuffolk.org/the-active-wellbeing-service

Website: https://www.activesuffolk.org/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01394 444605

Keep Moving Suffolk

Keep Moving Suffolk has ideas, tips and useful links to support people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels to get active or remain active by building movement into everyday life:

Website: https://www.keepmovingsuffolk.com/

We Are Undefeatable

A campaign led by 15 UK charities that supports people with health conditions to be active:

Website: https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/

Mental health support

Waiting for surgery can be a testing time for someone’s mental wellbeing and it’s important to seek information and support at an early stage if you feel your mental health is becoming a problem. A number of local organisations can help.

Social Prescribing: Connect for health

Social Prescribing Link Workers can help people from all communities with low level mental health support and connect them with activities in the community to help meet their needs. Visit the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group website for more information and for the contact telephone number in your area:

Website: https://ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/Localservices/SocialPrescribing.aspx

Social prescribing for multicultural communities

BSC Multicultural Services

BSC Multicultural Services helps more than 50 nationalities in Suffolk to improve their mental health by going on outings, learning new skills and attending a number of other activities set in a culturally sensitive environment. The charity also runs a dedicated men’s mental health project:

Website: www.bscmulticulturalservices.org.uk 

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 429740 or 01473 400081

Wellbeing Suffolk

Wellbeing Suffolk offers a range of tailored NHS support to help with common mental health and emotional issues such as low mood, anxiety, depression or stress. Support includes one-to-one talking therapy based on individual needs, online workshops, podcasts, guided self-help programmes and community events.

All services are free of charge and available to anyone aged 16 and over living in Suffolk. You can refer yourself or seek a referral through your GP or any other health or social care professional:

Website: https://www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/suffolk/

Telephone: 0300 123 1503* (8am to 8pm)

Suffolk Mind

Suffolk Mind offers support and information to help everyone improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Suffolk Night Owls, is a telephone, text and email support service run by Suffolk Mind which requires registration to access.

Website: https://www.suffolkmind.org.uk/

Website Suffolk Night Owls: https://www.suffolkmind.org.uk/services/suffolk-night-owls-telephone-support-line/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0300 111 6000*

St Elizabeth Hospice

St Elizabeth Hospice can help people to find emotional, well-being and bereavement support if they are struggling with losing a loved one:

Website: https://www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/hospice-care/emotional-and-spiritual-support/ 

Emergency Support

For urgent help call Wellbeing Suffolk’s 24/7 First Response team. This service is for people of all ages in Suffolk requiring mental health care, advice and support:

Website: https://www.nsft.nhs.uk/help-in-a-crisis

Telephone: 0808 196 3494 **

Samaritans

If you feel you are in crisis, experiencing feelings of despair or are suicidal, you can also contact the Samaritans:

Telephone: 116 123

Befriending services

Isolation and loneliness can often be consequences of waiting for surgery if people are unable to get out and meet others. Organisations which can help overcome this are listed below.

The Befriending Scheme

The Befriending Scheme provides friendship and learning opportunities for vulnerable people (16yrs+) including those with learning disabilities, mental health needs, older people and other isolated groups:

Website: https://www.thebefriendingscheme.org.uk/

Email: [email protected] 

Telephone: 01787 371333

Social prescribing for multicultural communities

BSC Multicultural Services

BSC Multicultural Services organises outings and activities set in a culturally sensitive environment to help more than 50 nationalities in Suffolk overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness:

Website: www.bscmulticulturalservices.org.uk 

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 429740 or 01473 400081

Good Neighbour Schemes

Good Neighbour Schemes are local voluntary groups who support those in need of help in their community. For a list of local groups visit the Suffolk Good Neighbour Scheme Network page on the Suffolk InfoLink website:

Website: https://infolink.suffolk.gov.uk/kb5/suffolk/infolink/service.page?id=Ib1nfMNy_zk

Support to manage long term conditions

If you have a long-term condition that is not well managed your elective surgery might have to be delayed until the condition is back under control again. This is for your safety.

Keep taking any prescribed medicines as directed, unless told otherwise by your clinician.

Social Prescribing: Connect for health

Social Prescribing Link Workers can connect people to support groups for long term conditions such as diabetes. Visit the website or call to self-refer to your local Link Worker. Visit the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group website for more information and for the contact telephone number in your area:

Website: https://ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/Localservices/SocialPrescribing.aspx

OneLife Suffolk

OneLife Suffolk’s ‘Get Help To Get Active’ programme supports those with long-term health conditions to build physical activity into their lives. This free programme offers weekly supervised exercise sessions for 12 weeks, helping people to safely build physical activity into their daily live while learning how to overcome barriers and stay motivated:

Website: https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/services/get-help-to-get-active/

Telephone: 01473 718193

NHS.uk – Health conditions A-Z

For more information on managing individual long-term conditions and details of support groups, visit the NHS website:

Website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/

We Are Undefeatable

A campaign led by 15 UK charities that supports people with health conditions to be active:

Website: https://weareundefeatable.co.uk/

Transport services

Help with transport difficulties is available from the organisations below:

Social Prescribing: Connect for health

Social Prescribing Link Workers can connect people to mobility and transport services if they cannot get around independently. Visit the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group website for more information and for the contact telephone number in your area:

Website: https://ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/Localservices/SocialPrescribing.aspx

Suffolk On Board/Connecting Communities

If your journey starts in Suffolk and there’s no public transport available to you locally, Connecting Communities rural transport will collect you and connect you to an appropriate bus route or train link for onward travel so you can reach your destination:

Website: https://communities.suffolkonboard.com/my-area/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0345 606 6171 (option 4)*

Good Neighbour Schemes

Good Neighbour Schemes are local voluntary groups who support those in need of help in their community. For a list of local groups visit the Suffolk Good Neighbour Scheme Network page on the Suffolk InfoLink website:

Website: https://infolink.suffolk.gov.uk/kb5/suffolk/infolink/service.page?id=Ib1nfMNy_zk

Financial and housing support

Suffolk County Council – Equipment and adaptations to the home

If you have long term needs Suffolk County Council Occupational Therapists can assess you and your home and potentially provide minor equipment or adaptations to enable you to live more independently. They can also assess long-term needs for major adaptations and make recommendations for a relevant grant:

Website: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/care-and-support-for-adults/how-social-care-can-help/independent-living-suffolk/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0800 121 7711

Suffolk County Council – Advice and support service

Suffolk County Council’s website provides links to support for debt/financial issues, food banks, the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme, the Suffolk Community Foundation Household Support Grant and support for children during school holidays:

Website: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/suffolk-advice-and-support-service/

Warm Homes Suffolk

Warm Homes Suffolk helps people to live in homes that cost less to heat so they can reduce their energy usage and lower their bills. This can be done by installing energy efficient air source heat pumps, adding solar PV panels to the roof, fitting loft and wall insulation or providing expert energy-saving advice and support. Home owners, renters and landlords can apply:

Website: https://www.warmhomessuffolk.org/ 

Telephone: 03456 037 686

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice can help with benefits, your rights at work, debt and money, housing, navigating the legal system, family law and immigration:

Website:  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Social prescribing for multicultural communities

BSC Multicultural Services

BSC Multicultural Services helps more than 50 nationalities in Suffolk with welfare benefits, housing issues, financial issues, immigration advice and general support:

Website: www.bscmulticulturalservices.org.uk 

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 429740 or 01473 400081

General health and lifestyle support

It’s important to think about your general health before surgery to give yourself the best chance of recovery. The links below could also help you make changes to benefit your long-term health.

OneLife Suffolk

OneLife Suffolk offers a variety of free programmes to help local people live healthier lives: weight management programmes for adults, children, and families; stop smoking services; NHS Health Checks; and help to get people more active:

Website: https://onelifesuffolk.co.uk/

Telephone: 01473 718193

National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP)

Type 2 diabetes is preventable. It is often linked to lifestyle choices and can lead to serious medical complications.

  • If you already have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, you are eligible for a place on the free National Diabetes Prevention Programme and can contact your GP for a referral.
  • If you do not have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, you can find out if you are eligible for a place on the free National Diabetes Prevention Programme by either completing an online assessment or speaking to your GP surgery to request a blood glucose test:

Website ‘know your risk’ online assessment: https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start

COVID-19

Protect yourself against COVID-19 and Long Covid by having your first two vaccinations and your booster jab if you’re in an eligible group. To check your eligibility and to find current information on vaccination sites and opening times visit the SNEE Vaccine website:

Website: https://sneevaccine.org.uk/

Flu

Protect yourself against the flu. People in eligible groups can get a free vaccination at their GP surgery or community pharmacy. Flu leaflets are available to view or download in several languages and in large print on the SNEE Vaccine website:

Website: https://sneevaccine.org.uk/resources/multi-languages-flu-leaflets/

Support for people looking after someone awaiting surgery

If you regularly look after someone who needs support because they are elderly or have mental or physical health needs, you are a carer. Carers often support a family member or a close friend with practical tasks and companionship. You do not need to be paid to be classed as a carer.

Suffolk Family Carers

Suffolk Family Carers support family carers of all ages to maintain their own health and wellbeing, organise breaks from their caring responsibilities and access practical advice and information. There may also be help for family carers to take a break from caring because they need surgery or hospital treatment themselves:

Website: https://suffolkfamilycarers.org/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 835477

Carer’s Assessment

If you are a carer, you can have a Carer’s Assessment to access support to help make your life easier. You can get an assessment by contacting adult social services at Suffolk County Council. Visit the website below to complete a quick self-assesment:

Website: https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/care-and-support-for-adults/caring-for-someone/carers-assessments/

Telephone: 0808 800 4005

Other support

Local parish, town and community support information

Information about support available to you locally, including transport, Good Neigbourhood schemes and support groups, can often be found in the parish and community magazines that drop through your door and on your local parish or town council’s website. Many local councils and community organsations are listed on the One Suffolk website:

Website: https://www.onesuffolk.net/organisations-in-suffolk

Suffolk Libraries

Many services are available to download from the Suffolk Libraries website including eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, films, newspapers, courses and information on upcoming local events and activities. Access to this information is also available at your local or mobile library:

Website: https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01473 351249

Other organisations and local community groups

Details of other organisations and local community groups which can also offer support are available at Suffolk Infolink:
https://infolink.suffolk.gov.uk/

Waiting times for operations

A list of current waiting times for operations at Colchester hospital is available at:
http://www.esneft.nhs.uk/your-visit/departmental-and-surgical-wait-times/ 

*Calls to 03 numbers cost the same price to call as if you were calling an 01 or 02 landline – including from mobiles.

**Calls to 0808 numbers are free from landlines and mobile phones.

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