Pioneering health club celebrates first birthday

A specialist health club in Otley is celebrating its first successful year.

Otley Leg Club was the first of its kind to open in the north of England and has become hugely popular since it started.

The club is a health and social group that follows a model developed by former district nurse Ellie Lindsay OBE, which sees patients treated by nurses in community settings. The leg club atmosphere encourages people with ulcers and other medical conditions to take more interest in their care and treatment, and when their legs heal, to keep them well and healthy.

The club is the result of a partnership between NHS Leeds CCG, Leeds GP Confederation, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust (LCH), Westgate Surgery, Chevin Medical Practice, Aireborough Medical Practice, Otley Action for Older People, Connect Well, and the national Lindsay Leg Club Foundation.

It is supported by nurses from the three GP practices in Otley and district nurses from LCH. Together, they treat any problems involving legs, from varicose veins, skin tears, eczema and leg ulcers to difficulties in walking.

Because leg problems can be very painful and can limit mobility, the club also provides a chance for people to meet others with similar conditions in a friendly, casual setting and chat over a cup of tea, which helps them feel less isolated and gives them a support network. According to one member, “It’s a great service. I only get out twice a week, once here and once to the hospital.”

Julie Rooney, clinical lead for the leg club and a nurse at Chevin Medical Practice, “In the 12 months that the club has been running, we’ve been able to welcome over 100 members. As well as treating their leg problems, we’ve also enjoyed lots of great chats, tea and entertainment and it’s wonderful to see people coming back, even when they’ve healed, because they enjoy the club so much.

“We’re really proud of what the club has achieved in its first year and are looking forward to helping even more people next year.”

The Otley Leg Club meets every Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 – 3:30 pm at the Over 60s Welfare Club on Crossgate next to the bus station. The service is open to all patients registered at Westgate Surgery, Chevin Medical Practice and Aireborough Medical Practice. Otley Action for Older People can provide transport for anyone in Otley, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Arthington who is housebound or has mobility issues.