POORLY patients have been left pirouetting, as hospital physios aim to get them moving.

Every week, physiotherapists on Great Western Hospital’s trauma unit spend 30 minutes blitzing through dance routines and exercise moves.

Those behind the scheme say that the classes help patients recover faster from debilitating falls and operations.

Rebecca Jackson, a GWH physio who launched the scheme in the summer, said: “It started as a way to combine music and exercise with social interaction. It is a real ice-breaking activity which encourages patients to talk to one another.

“New research on elderly and Parkinson’s patients shows that dance is a great form of exercise and is much more engaging than normal physiotherapy sessions.”

The trauma unit specialises in care for elderly patients, many of whom are admitted after falls.

While the musician most likely to get the dancers bopping is old crooner Frank Sinatra, physiotherapists said that younger singers like Michael Bublé were firm favourites.

Senior physiotherapist Daniele Coleman qualified three years ago.

She said of the scheme: “It’s about getting patients in a social environment, so they’re interacting with other patients and not just sitting on their own all day.

“They really enjoy it. They like the social aspect and a lot of the men like being in with the ladies.”

Daniele said that a basketball game, recently introduced to the sessions, had proved popular. Patients had to throw a small ball through a hoop, placed in the middle of the room.

“I think they just like the competition,” she smiled.

Patient Beryl Oakey, 84, from Faringdon, said of the ward staff: “They’re marvellous here. The keep fit class was a wonderful idea, because you put people together, which is a good thing.”

Former nurse Beryl, who was admitted to hospital four weeks ago after breaking her knee, added of the fitness classes: “It’s made a lot of difference. You get there and you sit up and stretch yourself.”