The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Shape Up 4 Surgery - a new campaign supporting people to get ready for surgery

17 May 2021

A new campaign led by Leeds Teaching Hospitals to encourage everyone needing surgery to get in shape, both physically and mentally, to ensure a quicker and faster recovery, has launched this week with a new website:

In general, hospital data shows that smokers stay on average at least one day longer in hospital after surgery compared to ex-smokers, whilst patients who are underweight or overweight have poorer surgical outcomes and longer stays in hospital. Staying active and increasing activity whilst waiting for surgery improves cardiovascular fitness, making your heart and lungs stronger, as well as improving muscle strength. This has been found to reduce length of stay in hospital, reduce post-operative chest infections and improve patients’ self-confidence and results in a faster recovery time.

Sophie Blow, Clinical Lead at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “We realise that coming into hospital for surgery can be extremely daunting and a complete unknown for many, and so Shape Up 4 Surgery is a website where we have tried to put a friendlier face on surgery, and provide plenty of resources to help people feel more confident, aware and in control of getting themselves ready.

“There’s no doubt that getting yourself in the best shape possible for surgery will have a positive impact on how well your surgery goes and how quickly you recover. And we’re hoping that patients will feel engaged by the information they see to make even small changes that can make a big difference. You wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without any training, having surgery is a little bit like that and Shape Up 4 Surgery is Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ part in helping patients get the training in.”

With approximately 50,000 elective surgeries each year, the aim of the campaign is to be accessible, with a focus on interviews, animations and translatable graphics to convey the messaging. This will be supported by print materials as well as discussions at appointments, where the pre-assessment teams for Leeds General Infirmary, St James’ University Hospital, Chapel Allerton and Wharfedale hospitals will guide patients through the ways they can make a difference to their recovery.

The campaign anchors around four key areas of a PLAN; Physical, Lifestyle, Awareness and Next Steps.

Each area of the PLAN has its own section and relevant information, signposting patients to try some exercises, take part in a mindfulness session, hear about how smoking and drinking affect their body during surgery and know what their next steps are.

P … is for Physical - exercise & movement 

L … is for Lifestyle - eating & wellbeing 

A … is for Awareness - smoking & drinking 

N … is for Next steps - start your surgical journey 

This first phase of what will be a long-term campaign, echoes many of the Public Health messages across the UK, as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. The next phases will work to engage GPs and healthcare providers and work in partnership with patients and services to support people back to good health, as far in advance of any hospital stay as possible.

Visit to find out how to get in the best possible shape to prepare for surgery. Meet the pre-assessment team, hear from surgeons and anaesthetists, try some of the exercise and lifestyle tips for yourself or refer yourself to a specialist support service. 

 Shape up 4 Surgery launches

Photo caption: Pictured with a Shape Up 4 Surgery branded Leeds Teaching Hospitals delivery van are: (L-R) Suzanne Ling, Pre-Assessment Sister; Ann-Marie Jones, Pre-Assessment Senior Sister; Sophie Blow, Clinical Lead; Martyn Robertson, Consultant Anaesthetist.