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INTERVIEW


about the response I’ve had to this. I don’t really do anything differently from what I think every GP should be doing,” says Dr John Morgan, commenting on the recent flurry of media interest in his exercise referral practices. “I believe GPs should speak to all their


DR JOHN MORGAN I


He’s hit the headlines recently for being the GP that recommends walking to his patients. Kate Cracknell fi nds out more about his ‘exercise is medicine’ philosophy, and why he thinks more GPs should follow suit


’ve been put down as the doctor who prescribes walking for the treatment and prevention of disease, but I’m fairly shocked


to a whole population group, it can put them off. I therefore approach it from an individual patient basis – talking about exercise to each of the 40 patients who sit in front of me each day, about how it can help their general health as well as the problem they’ve come to see me about. “If they’ve come to see me about


patients about exercise. I see 280–300 NHS patients a week, and about 200 private patients, and I mention exercise to probably 80 per cent of them in one way or another. My view is that, if you mention it at every single point of contact with a patient, it will encourage them to incorporate activity into their daily lives.”


Exercise is medicine He continues: “I mean, the evidence is irrefutable isn’t it – the benefits of exercise for so many different diseases. However, there’s evidence to suggest that, if you try and medicalise exercise


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something like high blood pressure it’s a natural fi t, but even things like recurrent chest infections or some other minor condition – you encourage them to exercise, which improves and strengthens the heart and lungs, which means they don’t get the same infections next time. They see the health benefi ts themselves and it encourages them to keep exercising.” But how does he squeeze it all in to a


10-minute consultation? “To be honest I don’t fi nd it that diffi cult – I think we get too hung up on this 10-minute consultation model. In my mind it’s about using your time to the best effect. It’s having the mindset that exercise is a treatment from the word go.


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital “If the best effect is giving the patient


a prescription for an antibiotic for a sore throat or a prescription for an anti-hypertension medication, all well and good. However, if you look at the studies, any tablets I might give them for their blood pressure are beaten hands down by losing weight and physical activity. So I tell them that. I show them graphs and charts that prove how combining physical activity with weight loss beats any kind of medication I can give them. “Some patients won’t end up


exercising for various reasons – I hear the usual excuses and I’ll try and come up with methods of overcoming those – but about 50 per cent of my patients will take me up on the offer of exercise, on the encouragement of exercise. Because honestly, the vast majority of patients don’t want to be on medication for the rest of their lives. They don’t want to be diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension in their early 50s and require medication every day for the next 30-odd years. So actually talking


November/December 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


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