Personal trainers recommended for GP surgeries
Health experts believe introducing personal trainers into job centres and GP surgeries could combat inactivity in the UK. The not-for-profit organisation ukactive has called for the issue to be addressed in the public sector, following reports that lack of exercise causes around 37,000 deaths a year and costs the economy £20bn annually. This new strategy, dubbed Blueprint for an Active Britain, is being launched on Thursday (05Nov15) and a team of health experts have called for the government to take action across workplaces, the NHS, social services and transport.
One of the key recommendations is that each GP surgery should have access to a professional who can advise people on improving their fitness, mental health and cardio-respiratory health.
Professor Mike Pringle, president of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), says, “The promotion of physical activity in primary care, with support from royal colleges and local authorities, can only benefit the health of the whole community. Primary care is where most of NHS prevention and long-term condition management takes place.”
Research suggests that 29 per cent of people in England are deemed physically inactive, meaning they fail to complete 30 minutes of moderate intense activity each week. This leaves them more prone to developing heart disease, hypertension, dementia, diabetes and mental health problems – conditions which eat up 70 per cent of the NHS’s annual budget. The new proposal underlines that spending money on experts such as personal trainers could actually save the country a huge amount.
“The NHS and other public services are under a lot of pressure right now, so we’re not calling for ‘new money’ to fund trainers,” Tanni Grey-Thompson, Paralympic champion and the organisation’s chair, said. “But given the enormous cost inactivity places on health and care services, we do think there’s a strong argument for more preventative action.”
The Blueprint for an Active Britain also calls for the long-term unemployed to be offered a physical activity programme to improve their health, and asks for free physical activity sessions for older generations.
The report features recommendations from leading health experts and charities including the RCGP, Nuffield Trust, Mind and Age UK and former health minister and surgeon Lord Ara Darzi.