Public Health England, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and Sport England have joined forces to release a new physical activity resource for professionals in the healthcare sector
The digital ‘Moving Medicine’ tool is set to improve conversations about physical activity between patients and healthcare providers and received funding from National Lottery Funding.
Launched at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress (ISPAH), the tool will help to advise healthcare professionals on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery.
Currently one in four of the population in England does less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and are classified as inactive.
Physical inactivity is in the top 10 greatest causes of ill health nationally, with negative impacts on health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes for individuals and communities.
Evidence shows that one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, yet nearly three quarters of GPs do not speak about the benefits of physical activity to patients due to either lack of knowledge, skills or confidence.
The tool focuses on helping to address the most common long term health conditions affecting the population, such as cancer, depression, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes.
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social care said: “There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that patients with all kinds of conditions – from depression to diabetes – would benefit from more exercise, yet understandably those suffering with chronic illness are more likely to be inactive.
“That’s why it’s so important healthcare professionals have the information they need at their fingertips to advise patients with complex health needs on how to get more active – and this doesn’t have to mean joining a gym.
“It can be doing more of the things we love, whether that’s playing football, swimming or going for long walks. I am delighted to launch this brilliant web tool for healthcare professionals.
“I hope it will help pave the way for a culture shift in medicine where referrals for exercise are just as common as prescriptions for medication.”
Advocating the necessity of physical exercise, Dr Paul D Jackson, President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) said: “The development of the Moving Medicine platform has been a truly collaborative effort, drawing on the expertise of many across a wide range of different disciplines and professional bodies as well as medical Royal Colleges, associated charities and patient groups.
“We all believe that introducing more physical activity into every care pathway across the NHS is an essential, cost-effective intervention to improve people’s health.
Moving Medicine will ensure that all health care professionals have up to date information on physical activity presented in a useable, easy to understand format, enabling them to inform their patients and motivate them to become more active.”
Moving Medicine is a major component of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme, which is designed to support healthcare professionals embed physical activity into their approach to treating patients for common conditions in line with existing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance.
Sarah Ruane, Strategic Lead for Health, Sport England said: “We know that it can be difficult to fit being active into busy lives. But for people who are dealing with illness or injury the thought of being active can be even more daunting. That’s why healthcare professionals have such a vital role to play.
“Moving Medicine is a simple idea with huge potential to transform the lives of the millions of people who are inactive and living with health conditions.
Equipping healthcare professionals with the practical information that they need to have supportive conversations with their patients, will help many more people to experience the range of health benefits that being active can bring.”
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