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Peers call for physical exercise to be added to QOF

GPs should be incentivised through QOF to prescribe physical activity more often to patients as part of the Olympic legacy, according to a House of Lords report.  

The report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee says indicators on using physical activity as a ‘treatment and preventative measure for chronic diseases’ should be included in the framework.

In its report published this month, the committee set out a range of recommendations on how exercise could be promoted as part of the Olympic health legacy.

It raised concerns about a lack of awareness among health professionals and it recommended that GPs receive more training, even at an undergraduate level, to ‘support the prescription of exercise’.

And it also recommended that NICE assess the quality of research to support the prescription of specific exercises in the management of chronic diseases and, where the evidence supports it, update their guidelines to reflect these findings

The report said: ‘The evidence we received suggested that there is significant scope for greater use of physical activity as a treatment and preventative measure.

‘We recommend appropriate training, both at undergraduate level and in continuing professional development opportunities, is available for health professionals to support the prescription of exercise as a preventative measure and treatment, where science supports this.

‘We invite the NHS to consider adding physical activity to the Quality and Outcomes Framework.’

However Dr John Ashcroft, a GP in Ilkeston in Derbyshire told Pulse that there is still a lack of evidence to prove that a GP’s advice encourages more physical activity.

He said: ‘I give advice to my patients all the time but I can’t see it is a good use of taxpayers’ money when there is no evidence to suggest we make a lot of difference.

‘It would be hard to justify paying doctors to spend more time giving exercise advice, instead of doing other things.’