Health care practitioners to prescribe physical activity

Published Monday, 2nd July 2018
Physical Activity Clinical Pad
Physical Activity Clinical Pad

Health leaders in Rotherham are to trial giving patients physical activity advice as part of a national pilot scheme.

Health leaders in Rotherham are to trial giving patients physical activity advice as part of a national pilot scheme.

Public Health England and Sport England have teamed up to launch an initiative which would see all health care professionals, from GPs to pharmacists, encouraged to give physical activity advice to residents whenever they see them professionally.
The scheme is being trialled in just 10 areas nationally, including here in Rotherham, with the Council and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) working in partnership.

Each area has a target to recruit 10 primary health care settings to deliver the project with the aim of brief advice on physical activity being factored into their routine clinical practice. 

The benefits of physical activity are well established and research has shown that one in 12 patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, but as many as 72 per cent of GPs do not speak about the benefits of physical activity to patients.  In addition 87 per cent of the general population interviewed said they trust advice from a pharmacist.

Nationally obesity levels are rising, with some of the worst rates here in Rotherham. Coupled with this is the fact people are doing less and less physical activity. 

The aim of the project is a commitment to get everybody active, every day and aims to support doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals to embed physical activity through a ‘making every contact count’ approach by developing expertise and leadership.  

Cllr David Roche, Cabinet Member for Public Health at Rotherham Council said: “The benefits for residents in Rotherham are enormous. If people are telling us they trust the advice given by their doctors or pharmacists then we need to capitalise on this and get these professionals to tell people about the benefits of physical activity. Just five minutes a day of exercise – whether this is getting off the bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way, or taking the stairs instead of the lift - all can make a vital difference to someone’s overall health.” 

Dr Richard Cullen, local Rotherham GP and NHS Rotherham CCG chair added: “This is the kind of scheme which we believe will have real impact here in Rotherham on our patients. Getting residents to understand the benefits of exercising more and the impact this can have on their life is the key to becoming a healthier society. We need to be making every contact count with early intervention in this way as this will benefit far more residents in the long run.” 

The programme, which is called the Physical Activity Clinical Advice Pad (PACAP) pilot project and which is set to begin this month, will include training for all nurses, GPs and health care assistants from practices which sign up to it.

It is part of the Public Health England (PHE) and Sport England (SE) Moving Health Care Professional Programme and specifically aims to increase the number of health care professionals in England who integrate brief advice on physical activity into their routine clinical practice. 

This comes just weeks after the launch of a new free service designed to help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.

Get Healthy Rotherham offers free, specialist support to help people stop smoking, lose weight, get more active, reduce their alcohol intake and improve their overall health for anyone aged over 18.

Find out more about Get Healthy Rotherham

Website link to Get Healthy Rotherham