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Three toe curls and two high intensity cringes

Three toe curls and two high intensity cringes

Advice for patients to contact their GP before starting a new exercise plan highlights people’s lack of understanding about the role of general practice, says editor Jaimie Kaffash

It is far too easy to laugh at the advice from NHS England, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office’s joint cold weather plan for England for patients to contact their GP before starting any new exercise plan. So let’s do it.

The line itself said individuals should ‘look after [themselves] by… if possible, trying to move around at least once an hour, but remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans’.

We all know how bored GPs are at work, so they will be delighted with an influx of patients telling them about their plans to take up Pilates, or a detailed description of next week’s leg day. Maybe NHS England can add gym bros to the additional roles reimbursement scheme.

Of course, in reality this advice will never be taken up and, if it wasn’t for Pulse, probably wouldn’t have been read by anyone outside the organisations that wrote it (yeah, sorry about that). And, in fairness, it has now been removed.

But there is an important point here. There were probably a few writers of this, and dozens of people who signed it off – people who work within health. The ‘remember’ in that line suggests it is reinforcing a public health message. So how did this get through?

This reminds me of when I met someone involved in making Government policy, who thought people got annual health checks at GP practices.

There seems to be a lack of understanding about the role of general practice, even among those within healthcare. I seriously believe that if the public had the same understanding of the role and pressures faced by general practice as they do about emergency services, it will reduce demand in a stroke.

So, my advice is that the writers of this should do 30 press-ups – but only after consulting their GP, of course.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Alice Hodkinson 15 October, 2022 7:30 pm

To be fair, anyone on medication probably should have an annual check up with a GP as other HCPs don’t have the knowledge or authority to stop medication or recognised that something else might need to be added.
Much as I would love it, pharmacists and nurses will record a low BP without comment, but a high BP leads to more meds. The former likely causing more harm than the latter.
Sadly, GPs don’t have the bandwidth to do this either as we are so much under the cosh with all the junk we have to do!