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JoggingJune 29 2016

The Royal College of General Practitioners has launched its latest clinical priority programme which focuses on physical activity and lifestyle. It aims to “support primary care professionals with reliable, evidence-based information to prevent and manage lifestyle-related diseases.”

Running until March 2019, this latest clinical priority will include:

  • research into barriers for GPs in promoting physical activity;
  • a review of current literature and guidance to ensure GPs have access to a set of agreed evidence-based guidance and tools;
  • delivery of health promotion and disease prevention strategies; and
  • development of materials for patients and commissioners.

Health issues will include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and liver disease, and lifestyle aspects will include diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption and psychosocial factors.

The RCGP has appointed two Clinical Champions for the programme, Dr Zoe Williams and Dr Andrew Boyd, and the programme will run in partnership with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.

“Despite one in six deaths being preventable by increasing physical activity, GPs often feel ill equipped, due to lack of training, time and incentives, to discuss physical activity levels with patients,” said Dr Williams.

“I’m delighted to take up this role and over the next three years aim to influence general practice staff and patients alike to make improvements to their lifestyle, and in doing so reduce demand on primary care, and the wider NHS, at a time when workload pressures are overbearing.”

Commenting on why this clinical area should be a priority for general practice, the University of Oxford team - Brian Johnson, David Nunan, Kamal Mahtani and Christine Haseler - added: “There is an urgent need to reduce the growing burden of lifestyle related diseases, which cost the NHS billions every year. Through this work, we aim to support GPs and nurses access reliable, evidence-based information and training to aid shared-decisions and better support their patients in achieving healthier lifestyles.”

The current list of clinical priorities is as follows:

  • Cancer: April 2012 to March 2017
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders: April 2014 to March 2017
  • Perinatal Mental Health: April 2014 to March 2017
  • End of Life Care: April 2013 to March 2018
  • Liver Disease: April 2016 to March 2019
  • Mental Health: April 2014 to March 2019
  • Physical Activity and Lifestyle: April 2016 to March 2019

Links:

RCGP announcement

RCGP clinical priorities

Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

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