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Health feature round-up: More collaboration for greater outcomes

April 2019 saw the release of our new film for healthcare professionals on supporting disabled people to be active. Since then, we have featured a series of health features from key leaders in the sector, including Public Health England, Royal College of Occupational Therapists and The Richmond Group. We've pulled together a round-up with key takeaways from each article. They provide lots of useful information for healthcare professionals looking to offer more inclusive activity. 

Sport for Confidence boccia session

April - Influence of healthcare professionals 

Our first article came from Dr Mike Brannan, National Lead for Physical Activity at Public Health England. He highlighted the valuable role played by healthcare professionals and explained how cross-sector collaboration is the key for change.

“We know the unique influence healthcare professionals have, with evidence suggesting 1 in 4 people would be more active if advised by them.
“Through the work of the national Moving Healthcare Professionals programme and others, we are seeing changes in the awareness and knowledge of healthcare professionals, with the development of social prescribing another exciting opportunity. We are seeing healthcare professionals becoming empowered to embed physical activity into the care of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, to improve their health and quality of life.”

Read Mike’s full health feature

May - Physical activity being an effective clinical intervention 

Genevieve Smyth, Professional Advisor at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists brought us into May. She highlighted physical activity as an effective clinical intervention. But also the importance of collaboration in supporting more disabled people to be more active.

“Every single person in healthcare needs to be talking about physical activity. It’s not just the occupational therapist’s job, or the physiotherapist’s job, or the doctor’s job - everybody should be talking about physical activity and its benefits. We need to do this because becoming more physically active is a clinically effective intervention.”

Read Genevieve’s full health feature

June - The importance of local collaboration 

June saw us hear from Sport for Confidence co-founder, and senior occupational therapist, Lyndsey Barrett. Sport for Confidence is a social enterprise that runs throughout Essex. The team supports people who face barriers to participation to get involved in a variety of sporting activities in mainstream settings. Lyndsey spoke about the Sport for Confidence model and how it has enabled a unique partnership between occupational therapists and leisure centres. The result is more individuals are reaping the physical and social benefits of being active.

“Supporting disabled people to be active shouldn’t be seen as a luxury added bonus, and disabled people can’t be the final thought at the end of everything else. Collaboration allows us to move forward together, with the same priorities and investment. This is key in supporting disabled people to be more active, and to support them in maintaining an active lifestyle.”

Read Lyndsey’s full health feature

August - Moving towards a social prescribing model 

Our next health feature was featured in August and came from our very own board member, Maria Palmer. Maria is a retired senior health professional with lived experience of disability. She spoke about the importance of adopting a social prescribing model.

“Physical activity needs to be considered as part of a person’s recovery and used as one of the main routes out, without medication. Moving away from the medical model and going towards a social prescribing model is the way to do this.”

Read Maria’s full health feature

September - Supporting regional organisations to reduce health inequalities 

We heard from Nicola Corrigan, Public Health England’s Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager for Yorkshire and the Humber in September. She tells us about the programmes implemented across Yorkshire and the Humber to address the regions health inequalities.

“One of the things we do in Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as nationally, is the Physical Activity Clinical Champions programme. This programme delivers specific peer-to-peer training for healthcare professionals. It provides them with the knowledge and skills to incorporate physical activity into their everyday practice.”

Read Nicola’s full health feature

November - The vital role of campaign messaging 

Our last health feature of 2019 came from Michelle Roberts, Richmond Group of Charities’ physical activity and health programme manager. With the launch of the We Are Undefeatable campaign, Michelle explains how messaging is crucial to getting people with long-term health conditions active.

“Increasingly, we are all recognising that there is no one size fits all approach. It’s about providing a mixture of opportunities and providing choice. Whether people want an activity bespoke to certain health conditions or want to feel that facilities will support them, regardless of health conditions or ability level.
“Some of this relies on the sector understanding this audience a bit better. Marketing heavily comes into this and it’s about getting the language right.”

Read Michelle’s full health feature

Watch our short feature film for healthcare professionals on supporting disabled people to be active below:

Watch our short film for healthcare professionals on supporting disabled people to be active

Our health features return in March 2020. Visit our health page for useful information for healthcare professionals wanting to offer more inclusive activity.