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GPs referring patients to dance classes under new scheme

GPs have been sending patients over 65 to dance sessions under a CCG-funded scheme aimed at improving strength and balance and reducing social isolation.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG paid for the 12-week scheme, involving three GP practices in Newcastle, out of its 'innovation fund'.

In all, 38 patients took part in the 'Falling on your Feet' programme, which included free twice-weekly dance sessions between January and March this year.

Helix Arts, which ran the sessions, and Dr Catherine Bailey, a public health researcher from Northumbria University whose role it was to study the health impact on participants, now hope to secure investment to expand the programme more widely across the North East of England.

NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG assistant clinical chair Dr Guy Pilkington said: 'I’m delighted to hear that this dance initiative has found so many fans among the over-65s in the West End of Newcastle.

'Dancing is a fun way to keep fit, improve flexibility, and balance and helps to reduce the likelihood of falls. 'Falling on Your Feet' has helped to give older people confidence in their movements, as well as helping to reduce the social isolation that can lead to health problems.'

Readers' comments (9)

  • oh.. I am sure dancing, or any other exercise , has a potential to improve people's life's in so many ways. But why a GP referral is necessary?

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  • John Glasspool

    I am surprised the RCGP isn't saying that GPs are "ideally placed to teach people to dance" too.

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  • Oh for goodness sake, general practice is doomed so long as GPs themselves keep undermining their own status with social services nonsense like this.
    Did you really need all those degrees and years of training in order to refer people to dancing class?

    And while people are being made to wait for cataract and hernia operations this CCG has money to fund dance classes? If funding that with NHS money is not a criminal offence then its time it was made a criminal offence. Very angry.

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  • Load of crap.
    We have a local healthwise scheme to allow free gym membership for 3 months.
    Recent figures clearly show that less than 10% attend more than twice.
    People dont really care - if its obtained free then no value

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  • while waiting lists rocket and people are made to wait for operations until their condition become critical, this CCG finds money for dance classes.

    Who else finds this to be an obscene use of scarce NHS money?

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  • Agree with all of the above......this is quite unbelievable. In a cash strapped NHS we should not be wasting scarce resources on projects like this.

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  • Prevention is better (and cheaper) than a cure. Connections between public health and medicine are intriguing. But as long as budgets for healthcare and public health are separate, this wasn't CCGs money to spend. Not criminal, simply incompetent act. Although well wishing.

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  • to GP Partner @10.15

    I didn't pay taxes to send people to dancing class, they can pay for that themselves. People are suffering with real medical problems because the NHS won't operate until they are critically ill, that's where taxes should be directed.
    Spending scarce taxes on dancing classes is an OBSCENITY.

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  • Is it not possible to think that Pilates could be as valuable an intervention as Paracetamol - Practices should learn how to use social prescribing - perhaps this initiative suggests that patients trust their GP to provide a range of effective options

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