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GPs to prescribe walking and cycling as mental health treatment

GPs to prescribe walking and cycling as mental health treatment

Moving around ‘will lead to a healthier nation’, Chris Boardman said (Jacob King/PA) GPs will start prescribing walking and cycling as part of a trial…

Monday, Aug 22

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Moving around ‘will lead to a healthier nation’, Chris Boardman said (Jacob King/PA) GPs will start prescribing walking and cycling as part of a trial in England to help improve mental and physical wellbeing and tackle health disparities.

The Department for Transport announced on Monday 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 loans.

GP prescriptions will also include wheeling for wheelchair or mobility scooter users, the department said.

But 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 Bath and North East Somerset, Bradford, Cornwall, Cumbria, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Nottingham, Plymouth, Suffolk and Staffordshire.

It comes as part of the government’s Gear Change Plan published in 2020 and aims to evaluate the impact of these activities on individuals’ health, such as reduced GP appointments and reliance on medication.The Department for Transport said several government departments and agencies, including NHS England, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Sport England, National Academy for Social Prescribing, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Health & Social Care, are working together on the project.Walking and Cycling minister Trudy Harrison said the activities have “so many benefits – from improving air quality in our communities […]

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