Moving Medicine tool launched to help GPs promote physical activity

A new tool has been launched to help healthcare professionals talk to patients about the benefits of physical activity.

The Moving Medicine tool is aimed at people working in roles such as doctors, nurses and physiotherapists to provide them with the latest evidence to address "a knowledge and skills gap in the NHS".

Designed by Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK – in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England – it will offer advice on how patients can manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery through getting active.

Developed in consultation with more than 300 healthcare professionals and patients, the tool is based on evidence-based, step-by-step guidance and focuses on helping to address the most common long-term health conditions affecting the population – such as cancer, depression, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes.

“For people who are dealing with illness or injury, the thought of being active can be even more daunting,” said Sarah Ruane, Sport England's strategic lead for health. “That’s why healthcare professionals have such a vital role to play.

“Moving Medicine is a simple idea with huge potential to transform the lives of the millions of people who are inactive and living with health conditions. Equipping healthcare professionals with the practical information that they need to have supportive conversations with their patients will help many more people to experience the range of health benefits that being active can bring.”

Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, added that there was a compelling case to get those suffering from chronic illnesses more active.

“There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that patients with all kinds of conditions – from depression to diabetes – would benefit from more exercise, yet understandably those suffering with chronic illness are more likely to be inactive," he said.

“That’s why it’s so important healthcare professionals have the information they need at their fingertips to advise patients with complex health needs on how to get more active – and this doesn’t have to mean joining a gym.

"It can be doing more of the things we love, whether that’s playing football, swimming or going for long walks."

Moving Medicine is a key component of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme, designed to support healthcare professionals embed physical activity into their approach to treating patients for key conditions in line with existing National Institute for Health Care Excellence guidance.

The resource was launched at the seventh ISPAH congress in London last week.