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GPs boost efforts to embed physical activity within clinical practice

12 December 2022
Making the case for social prescribing active travel: a toolkit to support patients to walk and cycle (Mayor of London`s office)
Making the case for social prescribing active travel: a toolkit to support patients to walk and cycle (Mayor of London`s office)


Sport England and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) have celebrated advances in the Moving Healthcare Professionals national programme, led by the OHID. The programme supports healthcare professionals to increase their knowledge and skills, and incorporate physical activity within routine care to support quality improvement and better patient outcomes.

The programme works to embed physical activity into the structures, processes and cultures of healthcare at every level, making it easier for healthcare professionals such as GPs and nurses to routinely have conversations with their patients about how sport and activity can help.

Social prescriptions, including walking, wheeling and cycling, have been offered by GPs as part of a trial to improve mental and physical health and reduce disparities across the country, the government has announced back in August 2022.

Walking and Cycling Minister, Trudy Harrison, said:??'Walking and cycling has so many benefits – from improving air quality in our communities to reducing congestion on our busiest streets.

'It also has an enormous positive impact on physical and mental health, which is why we have funded these projects which will get people across the country moving and ease the burden on our NHS.'

The critical role of healthcare professionals to increase activity among people has been highlighted in the national physical activity framework, Everybody Active Every Day, and also supports the government’s Sporting Future strategy, which set an ambition to integrate sport and physical into care pathways.

It was initiated in 2017 and has been designed to:

  • Provide evidence-based training and support resources for healthcare professionals to improve awareness, knowledge, confidence and skills to promote physical activity to patients to prevent and manage ill health

  • Test how to best embed physical activity within clinical practice so that physical activity conversations, signposting and prescribing become part of normal NHS clinical practice

  • Support the management of patients with long-term conditions, including people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer

  • Help reduce long-term demand and costs on the NHS

To date, more than 28,000 healthcare professionals have been trained to include physical activity conversation in their practice with patients by our network of physical activity clinical champions across England. Over 180,000 e-learning modules have been completed and over 53,000 people have used the Moving Medicine resource.

Around 157,000 staff have been trained, or accessed a training tool, as part of the programme, in partnership with OHID.

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