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INTERVIEW


Nuffield sees a high participation rate in its corporate schemes, with 40–60 per cent of employees signing up


access to specialist services – the most popular being physiotherapy, nutrition consultations and PT. “Seven out of 10 people who now join


us sign up for a 12-month membership. They know we’re not just selling them a package, but that we genuinely want to address their particular health needs, like sorting out their bad back or helping them manage their diabetes,” says Jones.


COMMUNITY FOCUS Nuffield is the largest trading charity in the UK, with a turnover of £700m a year and any operating surplus – currently around £80m a year – reinvested into new or expanding areas of the business. As a charity, its community-focused work – which was accelerated in 2012


– is important, including putting better health and fitness facilities into schools, universities and colleges and running them as dual-use sites (it currently has 20 such facilities, with a further seven openings planned for 2014). Perhaps a lesser know area of


Nuffield’s work is with the MoD, where for the past three years it’s delivered the Standard Nuffield Army Assessment – a fitness test for would-be recruits. Around 60,000–70,000 applicants are screened each year, with results fed back to the MoD’s recruitment teams. In addition, Nuffield runs the health


and fitness facility at the Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, and Jones says the charity is in talks with the MoD about providing services to other parts of the armed forces. While Jones sees this as valuable work in a key public sector area, it’s clearly a very steady and healthy revenue stream for Nuffield too, with the potential to become much bigger.


Within the medical arena (Nuffield


owns and runs 31 hospitals around the UK), Nuffield works with cystic fibrosis sufferers in conjunction with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and Leeds General Infirmary. It also it takes part in a number of health pilots, with its current Neurofit programme offering strength training and physiotherapy-led classes for those with multiple sclerosis in Warwick, Newbury and Reading.


MEDICAL POTENTIAL As a former GP who’s now professionally involved with health and wellbeing, does Jones see many opportunities for greater links between the fitness and medical sectors? He says: “As a doctor, I know that


exercise can play a positive part in just about every medical condition I’ve ever come across. It’s good if you’ve got heart disease or had a heart attack, for high blood pressure or if you’ve had a stroke, if you have lung disease or asthma. If you have arthritis, it’s good for maintaining muscle strength to protect your joints, it improves the quality of life for those with neuromotor conditions, and it’s one of the few things that can improve anxiety and depression. It also reduces your chances of getting cancer, and can help with recovery if you do get it. “The approach of the NHS is still ‘one


size fits all’, but those days have totally gone – people want personalised advice, to take part in their own healthcare, to know more about prevention, and to be given the information so they can make a choice. That’s very much at the core of what we’re trying to do at Nuffield.” However, overall Jones finds progress in the joining up of fitness and medicine


38 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


to have been “absolutely glacial”, with programmes like GP referrals “not really working at all”. Neither was he surprised when physical activity was withdrawn from the QOF (see HCM Jan 14, p5).


DRIVING PARTICIPATION But with the establishment of the Health and Wellbeing Boards, does Jones see health, fitness and wellbeing services eventually being more joined-up within government strategies? “Working with councils, engaging with


exercise referrals, diabetes care, older care and obesity – all this could be huge, but progress is still very slow. Maybe as an industry we haven’t done enough yet, but I don’t think it’s something governments can solve on their own either. “Wellbeing needs to be an area of


innovation and opened up to a whole range of different providers, businesses and charities that can bring new solutions; the best of those ideas will succeed.” For the long term, Nuffield is “placing


its bets” on prevention and wellbeing offers in both corporate and consumer markets, with the former taking the lead. “Today’s employers absolutely get it.


Every day we have conversations with people who want to help their workforce get healthier, fitter, more motivated, more productive and more engaged. “The industry talks about static


penetration rates of 12 per cent, but it’s certainly not what we see in our corporate schemes, where take-up is far higher. Around 40 to 60 per cent of employees in the estate sign up and engage in some form of activity. “We’d love that kind of enthusiasm


and engagement to spread across the general community.” ●


May 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


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