GPs and nurses urged to give "get active" advice to patients

GPS and nurses will be urged to advise people to get more exercise as part of a national pilot scheme to improve health.

Research suggests many would take part in more physical activity if it was suggested by a doctor or nurse but three-quarters of medical staff don’t specifically bring the subject up.

Public Health England and Sport England are pushing health officials in ten areas — including Rotherham — to get the message across and urge staff to “make each contact count” in the fight in illness and obesity.

Cllr David Roche (pictured), cabinet member for public health at Rotherham Borough Council, said: “The benefits for residents in Rotherham are enormous. 

“If people are telling us they trust the advice given by their doctors or pharmacists then we need to capitalise on this and get these professionals to tell people about the benefits of physical activity. 

“Just five minutes a day of exercise — whether this is getting off the bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way, or taking the stairs instead of the lift — can make a vital difference to someone’s overall health.”

Dr Richard Cullen, Rotherham GP and NHS Rotherham CCG chair, also backed the campaign, adding: “This is the kind of scheme which we believe will have real impact here in Rotherham on our patients. 

“Getting residents to understand the benefits of exercising more and the impact this can have on their life is the key to becoming a healthier society. 

“We need to be making every contact count with early intervention in this way as this will benefit far more residents in the long run.”

The pilot’s launch comes just weeks after the launch of a new free service in Rotherham designed to help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.

Get Healthy Rotherham offers free, specialist support for anyone over 18 to help them stop smoking, lose weight, get more active, reduce their alcohol intake and improve their overall health.