NHS Greater Glasgow is running special community-based classes that will make life easier for patients with breathing problems.
The classes are being held in health and community venues throughout Greater Glasgow to give patients easier access to breathing and walking therapies.
Previously, patients would have had to go to hospital to receive the same treatment.
Part of NHS Greater Glasgow's drive to make services more accessible, the classes are run by nurses, physiotherapists and leisure coaches and include an educational element as well as an exercise programme.
The expansion of the service means that patients can now be referred onto the programme by their GP as well as a hospital consultant and classes are being offered twice a week at the following locations:
Gartnavel General Hospital
Castlemilk Community Centre
Pollok Leisure Centre
Drumchapel Swimming pool
Balgrayhill Community Centre
The Park Centre, Kirkintilloch
The Playdrome, Clydebank
Up to 12 patients can attend each session and the increased number of classes means that now more patients will be given the opportunity to improve their breathing and walking ability.
The patients are also offered continuation classes after their eight week course.
Called the ‘Puffers' classes and supported by Glasgow City Council, they are held in leisure sites and run by leisure coaches.
Peter Ward is 59 years old and suffers from severe asthma. He has been attending the classes at Balgrayhill Community Centre for three weeks and cannot believe the difference the classes have made to his life.
Speaking at one of the classes he said: "These classes definitely have made a difference to my life. Before attending these classes I rarely left the house, now I want to get out and about.
"When you have breathing difficulties you do not want to exercise because it makes you breathless. The more breathless you become the more frightened you are to exercise. It is a vicious circle. These classes give you the confidence to do something about it."
More than 600 patients have been referred for assessment.
The service is mainly offered to patients who have chronic bronchitis, emphysema or asthma. Patients who have already been through the programme say they have greatly benefited from it:
The classes are attended by a nurse from Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland to give extra support to patients.
For further information contact Lorraine Dick on 0141 201 4429 or [email protected]