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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.’


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