Public Health England (PHE) have published the report Integration of physical activity promotion within primary and secondary care settings: Rapid evidence review and lessons from practice case studies. The report, which was led by researchers at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, examined the factors that influence successful integration of physical activity into UK healthcare settings for people living with one or more long-term conditions.
Integration of physical activity promotion within primary care (such as at a GP surgery) and secondary care (such as in a hospital ward or outpatients) could be a cost-effective way to improve the health of patients with long-term conditions. However, many such initiatives are in their infancy and there is a need to better understand what makes an intervention successful, including what has or hasn’t worked and why.
This project brought together current knowledge through a rapid evidence review of peer-reviewed research papers and so-called grey literature (which included sources such as government and charity reports and policy documents) and a series of case studies consisting of interviews with health care professionals across the UK who were involved in the set up or delivery of physical activity promotion.
Together the evidence review and case studies gave important insights into the key factors that enable or are barriers to health care practitioners to set up a successful physical activity promotion. Engaging with the patient and understanding their priorities and motivations are key to successful physical activity promotion, as is understanding the perspectives of healthcare professionals and providing them with appropriate training. At the healthcare system level these include adequate provision of infrastructure and resources, building strategic relationships across healthcare sectors, and choosing appropriate programme outcomes to determine if the promotion is effective and sustainable.
The case studies also provided information into what is needed to transform individual successful physical activity promotion interventions into sustainable services that can be delivered on a larger scale. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for both policy makers and health care practitioners directly involved in setting up physical activity promotion activities or services.
Dr Kirsten Rennie from the MRC Epidemiology Unit, who led the project said:
Our findings highlight that physical activity initiatives are often driven forward by highly motivated individuals, frequently frontline healthcare staff inspired by seeing the need in their patient population.
Physical activity interventions were effective because they were responsive to the needs of patients and delivery staff. We were able to identify some key enablers and recommendations for people setting up a physical activity service, and for broader integration of physical activity promotion into the healthcare system.”
Read the full report
- Integration of physical activity promotion within primary and secondary care settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- A longer version of the report is available in the University of Cambridge Repository
About this study
Integration of physical activity promotion within primary and secondary care settings: Rapid evidence review and lessons from practice case studies was funded by Public Health England and undertaken by researchers at University of Cambridge. The MRC Epidemiology Unit acknowledges the support of the National Institute of Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR CBRC)