Mobility Action Programme making a difference to patients

News News & events

06 Dec 2016

Marion Beard is working out at the Ara Institute of Canterbury gym, with the help of Bachelor of Applied Science student, Phoebe Guile.

Marion Beard with Bachelor of Applied Science student, Phoebe Guile.

She is taking part in the Mobility Action Programme, a Ministry of Health pilot scheme. There are seven in total around the country.

The programmes provide a range of services in the community for people with musculoskeletal conditions at various stages of progression with the aim of improving their health. The services include physiotherapy, exercise programmes, nutritional  advice and self management support.

Marion has been doing the programme for the last month and says she is now walking a little straighter and is more upright in her posture.

“When my hip is sore previously I would be leaning forward.”

She has already noticed increased muscle strength, which helps prevent pain in her thigh caused by supporting her ‘bad’ hip.

The students involved in the programme are excellent and very supportive and the fact that the sessions are well supervised is helpful.

Marion, aged 68, says she is normally an active person. However problems with her hip mean she can no longer do everything she used to. She had a successful hip replacement operation on her right hip a year ago but her left hip is troubling her with worn cartilage and she is often in pain.

“Apart from the hip I am as healthy as can be. I am not overweight. I would always be outside doing something. I love to walk and thoroughly enjoy golf and getting out with my friends and spending time with my granddaughter.”

She has not been able to get a First Specialist Appointment for assessment yet so doesn’t know when she will be able to qualify for surgery.

The Motus Health Network and the Canterbury Initiative are providing the Mobility Action programmes in Canterbury, for mild to moderate, and more severe cases of osteoarthritis respectively.

The Canterbury Initiative programme is specially aimed at people who have been referred for specialist review of the joint but who are unable to access this at present.   

The 10 week long programme is being run in conjunction with Ara Institute of Canterbury and the Sport Canterbury Green Prescription team

Each programme consists of two hours per week including one hour of education and one hour of exercise. When the programme finishes patients are encouraged to continue physical activity with the support of a Green Prescription.

There is good evidence from such programmes being undertaken in other parts of the world that many patients will at the very least be able to better their progress when they do have surgery and that at best a good number of patients will be able to achieve much greater comfort and physical ability and be able to delay the need for surgery.

Ara Institute of Canterbury lecturer, Louise Sheppard, who coordinates the programme, says the early results of the programme are promising.

“We currently have three groups going through the programme and so far we are getting really positive feedback.   It is a great opportunity for our Physical Activity & Health Promotion and Nutrition students to work with this population – both the students and the participants seem to benefiting”.

The programme will run regularly throughout 2017 and the first half of 2018, with the goal of reaching over 400 patients by the end of the pilot.

For more information about the Mobility Action Programme and the current Mobility Action Teams at: