An innovative national programme aimed at embedding physical activity into the care of people living with long-term conditions is to be evaluated by academics at Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC).

 

Moving Healthcare Professionals is a national partnership programme led by Public Health England in collaboration with Sport England. Through the AWRC, the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) Sheffield and East Midlands, in partnership with Ipsos MORI, have secured a £500,000 contract to evaluate the programme’s eight projects.

 

The evaluation will look at the effectiveness of the programme as a whole and the individual projects which include introducing physical activity clinical champions; developing undergraduate medical training; online learning resources for healthcare professionals and a scalable approach to changing professional culture around physical activity.

 

The Moving Healthcare Professionals programme will be delivered over the next three years (2019-2022) in collaboration with a number of partners. All of the projects are aimed at increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence of those working in, or training to work in, a healthcare profession to ensure physical activity is embedded across the healthcare system.

 

Physical inactivity remains one of the top ten causes of disease and disability in England and is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK; the same number as smoking. People with long-term conditions are more than twice as likely be inactive as the rest of the population.

 

It costs the UK an estimated £7.4 billion a year and the ongoing decline in activity seen since the 1960s continues to put increasing pressure on strained health and social care systems as well as impacting the quality of life for individuals and communities.

 

Dr Anna Lowe, programme manager for the NCSEM Sheffield, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to evaluate this innovative programme, working in collaboration with Public Health England and Ipsos MORI.

 

“Healthcare professionals are uniquely placed to support inactive people to become more active. There are over 600,000 healthcare professionals in the country who will each see nearly half a million patients during their career. According to the Health Survey for England, one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse.

 

“Understanding what works to embed physical activity in healthcare has the potential to re-shape services and ultimately enable healthier lives for people living with, or at risk of long-term health conditions.”

 

Nicola Corrigan, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager, Public Health England Yorkshire and Humber Centre, said: “It has been said that ‘if physical activity were a drug, we’d talk about it as a miracle cure’. Being active is an essential part of good health and we are really positive about the opportunities this programme brings to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles.”

 

The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, which officially opened in January, is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move.

 

It is the most advanced research and development centre for health and physical activity in the world, with a mission to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity.

 

To find out more about the Moving Healthcare Professionals programme, please contact PhysicalActivity@phe.gov.uk.

For press information: Jo Beattie in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email j.beattie@shu.ac.uk