ENO Breathe shortlisted for 2021 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards

The English National Opera’s ENO Breathe programme has been shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s (RPS) 2021 Impact Award, recognising the support the programme has provided for patients recovering from Covid-19 who are still experiencing symptoms after their initial illness. 

Led by the ENO’s learning and participation programme, working alongside clinicians from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, this holistic online programme of singing and wellbeing is unique for integrated social prescribing. It brings together medical and musical expertise, providing new ways to support and empower patients through self-management tools for posture, breath and anxiety.  

Following the success of the initial six week pilot in 2020, the ENO announced that the programme would be rolled out for Covid-19 patients nationally

Some patients experience breathlessness for some time after they have recovered from Covid-19. This can increase anxiety, which in turn can cause patients to take shallow breaths, using only the top of their lungs, rather than inhaling deeply. Patients enrolled in the programme learn techniques to help them focus constructively on their breathing, using music that is designed to calm. 

Strict monitoring and evaluation of the programme has continued through the latest phase, with an in-depth research trial currently underway to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the programme. Patients who have completed the sessions have reported significant improvement in their overall wellbeing. 

Commenting on the nomination, Dr Sarah Elkin, lead respiratory consultant for the programme and clinical director for integrated care at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the ENO on this programme and I am delighted that ENO Breathe has been recognised by the RPS. As the country continues to recover from the pandemic, we must remember those patients who are still suffering with Covid-19 symptoms long after their initial disease. Ongoing breathlessness is debilitating and can be frightening but we have seen first hand the impact that ENO Breathe has had for our patients. We hope that, through close evaluation, we can continue to make improvements that best support people to reduce their symptoms and improve wellbeing.” 

The RPS Awards recognise outstanding contributions to classical music and include star soloists, unsung heroes and amateur musicians. Also shortlisted for the Impact award, which is supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, is Live Music Now’s ‘Including Me’ programme, aimed at families with children experiencing a challenging time during the pandemic, and Orchestras for All, which aims to improve access to music-making for young people. 

The 2021 RPS Awards take place at Wigmore Hall, London, at 7.30pm on Monday 1 November, hosted by BBC Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham and RPS Chief Executive James Murphy, with trophies presented by RPS Chairman John Gilhooly. The awards will also be filmed, and available to watch on the RPS website from Tuesday 9 November, as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio 3 Our partners BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm on Monday 8 November.