Physical Activity and Lifestyle announced as a clinical priority by the RCGP

Publication date: 27 June 2016

The RCGP has announced that Physical Activity and Lifestyle will be a clinical priority for the next three years, running from 2016-2019.

Physical Activity and Lifestyle is the latest clinical priority to be announced by the Royal College of GPs, aiming to support primary care professionals with reliable, evidence-based information to prevent and manage lifestyle-related diseases.

Lifestyle and environmental factors are leading causes of non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and liver disease, which could be prevented or better treated through addressing diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption and psychosocial factors.

The new three-year programme, which will run from 2016-2019, aims to support GPs and their teams – who deal with 90% of NHS patient contacts - to help manage their patients’ physical health, and ultimately reduce long-term pressure on the health service. 

Dr Zoe Williams and Dr Andrew Boyd have been appointed joint Clinical Champions for the programme, which will be run in partnership with the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, at the University of Oxford.

Dr Williams said: “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.

“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, Dr David Nunan and Dr Kamal Mahtani, from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, and Dr Brian Johnson and Dr Christine Haseler from the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, said:

“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.”

Find out more about the RCGP’s Clinical Priorities Programme and the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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