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Prescribing cycling and walking

  • by JW

The Government said authorities must improve infrastructure alongside the trials so people feel safe undertaking the activities.


The government has announced its latest push for cycling and walking:

Social prescriptions, including walking, wheeling and cycling, will be offered by GPs as part of a new trial to improve mental and physical health and reduce disparities across the country, the government has announced today (22 August 2022).

The government has awarded £12.7 million in multi-year funding to 11 local authority areas in England. The pilots, a commitment in the government’s Gear Change plan published in 2020, aim to evaluate the impact of cycling and walking on an individual’s health, such as reduced GP appointments and reliance on medication due to more physical activity. For the first time, transport, active travel and health officials will work together towards a whole systems approach to health improvement and tackling health disparities.

Walking, wheeling and cycling to be offered on prescription in nationwide trial – GOV.UK

As carried by the Western Morning News:

GPs in parts of the Westcountry will start prescribing walking and cycling as part of a nationwide trial to help to improve mental and physical wellbeing and tackle health disparities across the UK.

The Department for Transport has announced that £12.7 mill­ion has been given to 11 local authorities to fund pilot social prescriptions as well as projects like adult cycle training, walking groups and free bike loads. GP prescriptions will also include wheeling for wheelchair or mobility scooter users, the department said. There will also be other schemes introduced like all-ability cycling taster days and exercise mental health groups, it added.

The Government said authorities must improve infrastructure alongside the trials so people feel safe undertaking the activities.

The pilots will kick off this year and run until 2025 in Plymouth, Cornwall, Bath and North East Somerset, Bradford, Cumbria, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Nottingham, Suffolk and Staffordshire.

Western Morning News –

And the local press:

GPs in Somerset to prescribe bikes rides and walks instead of pills – Somerset Live

e-Bikes on prescription in new walking and cycling pilot in Cornwall | Falmouth Packet

Walking and cycling – on prescription – Radio Exe

And as carried by the Mail today:

Doctors will soon be telling patients to ‘get on your bike’ or ‘take a hike’ as cycling and walking are to be prescribed by GPs in a health improvement drive announced today.

The pilot scheme to be rolled out later this year aims to cut rates of cancer and heart disease by encouraging people to take more exercise.

It is also hoped it will ease the burden on the NHS, as well as reduce congestion on the roads as people stop using their cars for short journeys.

Doctors will prescribe walking and cycling to beat heart disease and boost nation’s wellbeing  | Daily Mail Online

This is being piloted in the West Country – but not in Devon. Yet…