William Eichler 16 May 2022

Council leaders urge GPs to prescribe leisure centre trips

Council leaders urge GPs to prescribe leisure centre trips image
Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com.

Local authority leaders are urging GPs to prescribe obese patients exercise classes at local leisure centres after research found it could increase life expectancy by nearly four years.

A new report by the District Councils’ Network (DCN), produced alongside consultants from the University of East Anglia, revealed that nearly a third of the UK currently does less than 30 minutes physical activity per week.

The report, entitled Fit for the Future, found that prescribing local leisure services to one million inactive people over the next decade could avoid nearly 50,000 preventable diseases and save the NHS more than £300m.

The researchers also calculated that it could provide an economic boost of over £4bn in quality-adjusted life year gains – a unit of measurement used to gauge how health interventions can improve people’s lives.

‘As we emerge from the pandemic, it is vital we embrace this as an opportunity to get the nation fit and healthy, and to continue protecting and supporting our NHS by preventing illness and disease where we can,’ said Cllr Angie Dale, healthy communities spokesperson for the DCN.

‘Our new report shows conclusively that local leisure centres can play a vital role in keeping people fit, and prescribing these services to people can increase life expectancy by up to four years.’

Councils are currently the biggest investors in sport, leisure, parks and green spaces, spending £1.1bn per year in England. However, nearly two thirds of the leisure estate is ageing and many facilities are at risk of closure.

As well as calling on GPs to prescribe exercise classes, the DCN urged the Government to invest in local sport and leisure services to address the nation’s health challenges.

Cllr Dale added: ‘By providing long-term investment and integrating our councils’ excellent leisure and wellbeing services into health systems, we can increase life expectancy and tackle growing health inequalities. This is levelling up in action.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.