Sport and Exercise Medicine holds key to GP Physical Activity Support

25 August 2017

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK welcomes the recent report published in the British Journal of General Practice – GPs’ knowledge, use and confidence in national physical activity and health guidelines and tools: a questionnaire-based survey of general practice in England.

The FSEM (UK), which represents and sets standards for Sport and Exercise Medicine clinical practice in the UK, is taking action to provide GPs with physical activity learning and reliable, evidence-based information to prevent and manage lifestyle-related diseases via physical activity. The FSEM (UK) has been working with the Royal College of GPs on a Physical Activity and Lifestyle three year clinical priority. The aim of the project is to help GPs to manage their patients’ physical health and reduce the demand on primary care and the wider NHS.

Dr Paul Jackson, President of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, comments: “We welcome this research which highlights the need for further training to be available for GPs to improve their knowledge on the assessment of physical activity levels and how to give advice on increasing activity. This need for further knowledge about exercise medicine is required not only in general practice, but across all medical specialties. 

“We are using the skills and knowledge we have about Exercise Medicine to provide more accessible learning for GPs and other specialists so that they can better support their patients in achieving the right amount of physical activity for health.There is compelling evidence to support the therapeutic use of physical activity and exercise medicine in the prevention and management of many common conditions and diseases. An increase in everyday physical activity can reduce the risk of some diseases by up to 50%*. 

“When we talk about an increase in physical activity it can be something very simple like an increase in walking or taking the stairs instead of taking the lift. Exercise prescription can also provide condition specific and patient specific exercise therapy and both can help manage on-going conditions, improve health, reduce the need for medicines and keep people living independently for longer.”

The clinical priority, led by joint Clinical Champions for the project Dr Zoe Williams and Dr Andrew Boyd was launched by the RCGP in August 2016 under the guidance of two FSEM (UK) GP members Dr Christine Haseler and Dr Brian Johnston. Dr Johnson created the GP e-learning resource Motivate 2 Move which will become part of the Clinical Priority project.

The FSEM (UK) is also working with Public Health England and Dr Justin Varney, the National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing with an aim to deliver physical activity resources to all healthcare professionals and medical undergraduates.  

*Source: Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) and NHS North West: Sport and Exercise Medicine A Fresh Approach in Practice 2011.

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