NHS launches prescription bikes to tackle heart disease

NHS patients in Wales will now be able to get a prescription for town bikes in an attempt to cut the risk of death from heart disease

GPs in Cardiff will be trialling the bike share scheme in what is the first of its kind in the UK. Bike hire will be available for free on prescription, as part of the new pilot scheme at the GP surgeries. Doctors can prescribe six months of nextbike membership for people who need to do more exercise or lose weight. Once prescribed, patients will be given a code which allows them unlimited free 30-minute hires.


The plan is being funded by the bike-share company  nextbike for the trial period, with the hope it will then expand to other surgeries across the city.


Use of mobile applications in the management of overweight and obesity

Alnuaimi A, Rawaf S, Hassounah S et al. | Use of mobile applications in the management of overweight and obesity in primary and secondary care | Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine | 5 April 2019


This systematic review involved searching electronic databases for studies on the use of mobile app-based interventions in the management of overweight and obesity among adults over 18 years of age in a primary and secondary care setting. The results of the review revealed that mobile apps are effective tools for weight loss management and sustaining such loss when compared to standard interventions.

However, further research is needed to consider the sustained benefits and the applicability of mobile app-based interventions for large-scale population coverage.

Full document at Sage Journals

Quality In Public Health: A Shared Responsibility

This framework aims to raise quality in public health services and functions. It is the first such framework for public health, and has been developed by the Public Health System Group with support from important partners across the public health system including from local government and the NHS.

PH quality
Image source: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk

This document sets out a high-level, shared, system-wide commitment to high-quality public health functions and services.

The document:

  • Provides a framework for improving quality in the delivery of public health
    functions and services that can support sector led improvement
  • Describes what we mean by quality in public health systems, functions and
  • Sets out the roles and responsibilities of key players in the public health
    system to deliver high-quality functions and services
  • Describes the process for improving quality
  • Identifies areas for priority focus and action

The main audiences for the framework are:

  • people working in public health and related areas
  • providers of public health functions and services
  • commissioners and funders
  • local authority councillors and directly elected mayors
  • national government, organisations and policy makers

Improving the Physical Health of People with Serious Mental Illness

AHSN | May 2018 | Improving the Physical Health of People with Serious Mental Illness

Bradford District Care Foundation Trust, has developed a template to support healthcare professionals to identify patients with conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. The template improves the quality of health checks for people with a serious mental illness (SMI) who are at risk of dying prematurely due to preventable physical conditions.

Potential cost savings in the Yorkshire and Humber region alone are estimated to be £11.3 million over the next 10 years. The AHSN piloted an initial rollout across two Mental Health Trusts and two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). It has also supported organisations nationally to trial or implement the template.

The template is available through the SystmOne, EMIS and RIO web platforms and has been used by 74 CCGs. An eLearning module produced by the AHSN went live in January 2017 (Source: AHSN).

The full story is at The AHSN Network 

Tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors

This report shares learning and insight from services that are using innovative ways to address the problem of multiple unhealthy risk factors in their populations | The King’s Fund

kings fund
Image source: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/

This new report from the King’s Fund draws on interviews and information from eight case studies in local authorities and the NHS and updates the evidence base on tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors.

Previous research by The King’s Fund has shown that unhealthy behaviours cluster in the population. Around seven in ten adults do not follow guidelines on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, healthy diet or physical activity, yet most behaviour change services address these behaviours separately, not reflecting the reality of people’s lives.

Most services included in the report are local authority led and are integrated health and wellbeing services. These provide behavioural advice and support to people across a range of different behaviours, including smoking, weight management and physical activity.

Full report: Tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors: emerging lessons from practice

Summary available here

Participation in exercise programme improves BMI of US school children

School children in the US, (n= 707) who participated in an short-term  exercise programme experienced  improvements in  their body mass index (BMI) scores,  significantly different than the comparison group. This group also had higher odds of being in a lower BMI category at follow-up; significantly different than the comparison group.

running-2837486_1920The 12-week initiative ran for an hour three times a week.  Each session started with a warm-up, followed by a running activity, and incorporated a skills-based approach to teach a new skill each week. During the cool- down session there was discussion on nutrition for pupils.

By the end of the the programme the child participants had better body mass index scores, than the non- participants in the control group.  There was also an additional benefit for those children who participated three times a week as their focus on schoolwork improved, and those who attended two sessions a week also had notable improvements in their mood and energy levels.

The full story can be read at Science Daily 

The journal article is published online and is available here 

Full reference: Whooten, R. C. et al. |Effects of Before-School Physical Activity on Obesity Prevention and Wellness | American Journal of Preventative Medicine | 2018|  doi:  10.1016/j.amepre.2018.01.017

Police and Public Health Collaboration

Guidance in documents from Public Health England support the national consensus statement, ‘Policing, Health and Social Care: working together to protect and prevent harm to vulnerable people’. 

These papers showcase good practice between police and health colleagues within case studies,  identifies obstacles to collaboration and enablers.

cooperate-2924261_1920.pngThey have been developed to stimulate discussion and and to contribute to the evidence base that will help to shape future work programmes. They are intended as an information source for the wider public health system.

Further details can be found at Public Health England 

Both documents are available to download from Public Health below: