HIP and knee patients across East Lancashire are being given a helping hand to get them back on their feet more quickly as part of a new ‘school’ regime.

Around 800 patients in the area currently benefit from replacement knee or hip joints each year - but medics are keen to ensure the procedure and recovery period runs more smoothly.

Surgical specialists have now teamed up with technology partners Stryker to offer simple post-operation advice as part of a ‘hip and knee school’ being trialled at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals.

Before patients go under the knife, they are invited along to the school, which will explain the technicalities of the surgery and iron out any potential worries before going into theatre.

Clare Owen, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s transformation manager for surgery and anaesthetics, said: “We expect that our new hip and knee school will be a great benefit for patients and result in a more rapid recovery, fewer complications and greater patient satisfaction.”

An initial demonstration of the classes, before invited guests including trust chief executive Kevin McGee and the mayors of Blackburn with Darwen and Rossendale, Cllr Hussain Akhtar and Cllr Granville Morris, was undertaken yesterday.

One of the first patients to go ‘back to school, Dave Martindale, 69, from Oswaldtwistle, said: “I think the hip and knee school is a very good idea.

“I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before and the hospital staff painted a very clear picture of what to expect during my operation and what happens afterwards.

“You learn about the exercises you can do in advance of your operation and how you will use them afterwards to help you recover. It helps you to understand everything that will happen and why it is being done that way.”

Patients were able to speak with everyone from senior nurses to physiotherapists and occupational therapists for tailored instructions on what to expect immediately after surgery and looking towards the future.

The school forms part of the trust’s enhanced recovery programme, which examines different ways in which patients can be encouraged to assist their own rehabilitation.

Lead nurse Anne Livesey said at the launch: “Specialist staff talk patients through every step of their procedure and answer the questions that can arise for them along the way. We start by explaining why joints need replacing, what the operation itself is and what happens on the day of the operation.

“We take patients through the various types of anaesthetics available and what to expect afterwards and what to expect after their operation in terms of their wound care and rehabilitation.”