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FIA UPDATE Prevention over medication


The physical activity sector must be ready to present a compelling case for exercise interventions in local healthcare delivery, says the FIA’s David Stalker


H


istorically there has been limited discussion and co-operation between the medical profession


and fi tness professionals who deliver exercise – one of the core reasons why exercise is not currently a routine part of healthcare. However, over the past few years the FIA has been putting the structures in place to make a step change and engage with the medical community.


partnership work T e Joint Consultative Forum (JCF) was set up by the FIA as a channel of communication with the medical sector. T e JCF quickly determined the need


to produce standards for exercise referral that will defi ne the role of exercise referral schemes, assist the evaluation of exercise referral services, and most of all improve the quality of care for patients. T e standards have been put out to consultation and are now at the draſt ing stage. T ey will be published later this year.


providing evidence T e FIA Research Institute was launched at the University of Greenwich last year to build an evidence base for the eff ectiveness of exercise in delivering health outcomes. T e institute’s fi rst 12-week pilot study,


delivered with Impulse Leisure, enrolled 100 people – some of whom were inactive gym members. It assigned them to three levels of exercise engagement: physical activity counselling and activity monitoring with a MyWellness Key; free use of the gym facilities; or a structured exercise programme at the gym three times a week. A full set of results will be published in


academic journals later this year. However, all participants showed improvements across the board, with lower weight, BMI, body fat and blood pressure, as well as higher levels of cardio and respiratory fi tness, muscular strength and fl exibility.


focus group research A high level focus group – the GP Clinical Commissioning Consortia Focus Group


24 Exercise could be used as a key preventative measure to help to ease cost pressures in the NHS


– met at the end of January to determine how members of the physical activity sector can best place themselves to off er their services to the health service. Dr Paynton, national clinical


commissioning champion at the Royal College of General Practitioners, led the focus group. He explained that he is looking to the physical activity sector, as a potential NHS provider, to develop a “diff erent combined approach” to demonstrate that it can off er long-term solutions to the costs and pressures on the NHS created by long-term medical conditions. T e fi tness sector must, he explained, also be prepared to take on the risk and responsibility associated with joint commissioning. T e discussion summarised that, to have


the greatest impact, exercise interventions must form part of a greater programme of behaviour change. So we now have three key elements


needed to move forward: • Communication and regular contact with key members of the medical community


• Standardised procedure for physical activity referral schemes • Evidence


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital T e scene is set for the sector to present


our off ering to healthcare commissioners and show that exercise really is the answer.


Around 15 million people in England have at least one long-term health condition – a condition that cannot be cured but that can be managed. This accounts for the majority of NHS spending on clinical care. T e NHS has to fi nd £20bn in effi ciency


savings in the next fi ve years – yet it is estimated that only 50 per cent of these savings can actually be found through quality, innovation and productivity (QIPP). To stop its costs rising further, the NHS must look at investing in prevention. At the same time, major structural


changes to the health service will see the introduction of Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs), which will drive a shiſt in focus towards community-based treatment and lifestyle interventions. T is will bring with it a number of key changes to the role of GPs in decision-making and the commissioning of care, and has particular relevance for the delivery of exercise referral schemes.


march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


Health Club Management is the FIA’s Public Affairs Media Partner


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