Making life better for patients
Making life better for patients

The appeal hopes to raise £25,000 to buy two static bikes for patients at the Northern General Hospital’s Sheffield Kidney Institute, allowing patients to achieve physical goals and boost their quality of life.

Just a handful of other cities around the UK are trialling the programme, which has been successful in improving mobility, health and well-being in patients with kidney disease who are on dialysis. The aim is for it to be an integral part of a patient’s treatment plan.

Sarah Gilbert, Specialist Physiotherapist in Acute Medicine Therapy Services is overseeing the project. She said: “The important role that exercise plays in leading a healthy life cannot be dismissed. Physical inactivity can lead to many complications which are amplified in patients with kidney disease.

“Dialysis patients spend a lot of their time travelling to and from clinics, on top of time spent receiving treatment. Patients spend around four hours, two to four times a week undergoing dialysis. This equates to around six weeks per year sitting or lying inactive, which means they don’t have as much time for an exercise regime as they would like.

“There is an ever-growing body of evidence to suggest that exercise and strengthening during dialysis is beneficial for renal patients and should be part of a patient’s treatment plan. Not only does exercise increase the effectiveness of dialysis by increasing blood flow which enhances the removal of toxins, it also works to improve physical function and to help maintain independence whilst enhancing wellbeing.”

Chronic kidney disease affects more than three million people in the UK. The Sheffield Kidney Institute, part of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, currently sees around 1,300 patients a year who are undergoing treatment. Around 600 of those are being treated with dialysis both in hospital and in satellite units across the city.

Sheffield Hospitals Charity is aiming to fund three specially designed exercise bikes suitable for dialysis chairs and beds, along with muscle strengthening equipment and a physiotherapist to fully implement and supervise the exercise programme.

The specially designed static bikes – which cost £7,000 each - are easy to use, with patients able to see the screen, adjust settings and receive visual mileage feedback which assists them in achieving their physical goals and sustaining motivation.

Sarah feels so passionately about the benefits of the bikes, that she has put her best foot forward to raise funds for the appeal by taking part in the Warsaw marathon.

“I’ve taken part in the Warsaw Marathon to raise funds for an exercise bike so my patients can pedal whilst on dialysis.

“Earlier this year I went to visit patients on a Renal Rehabilitation Unit in London who are using these bikes. I saw for myself the benefits - one patient said he used to be ‘the grumpiest man on dialysis.’ but now he sleeps better, is more alert and is happier overall,” Sarah added.

With your support, Sheffield Hospitals Charity can ensure that kidney patients in Sheffield will find it easier than ever to keep fit, active and healthy with the help of the new integrated exercise programme to be initially trialled at Heeley Satellite Dialysis Unit.

To make a donation to the £25,000 target and support ‘bikes for dialysis’ please visit