A physiotherapist has spoken about the impact of a regional role she has led to promote the benefits of physical exercise.
Leanne Mitchell is a former paediatric specialist physio and is now outpatient therapies team lead. She is reflecting on her role as ‘Physical Activity Clinical Champion’ for the North East – a position she recently completed.
In the two years in the role, she has carried out peer-to-peer training for health professionals across a host of organisations, giving them knowledge and skills to include the issue of physical activity advice into their everyday practice.
The latest figures show that 23.1% of Stockton and 36.7% of the Hartlepool population are physically inactive.
The region as a whole is the most inactive in England – with 25.6% of people not moving enough.
Leanne said: “These figures are clearly way too high for our region. Particularly for our community in the Stockton and Hartlepool area.
“It is so important we get key messages across to our population about the importance of physical activity.
“And one of our ways of doing that is to educate health professionals around how they can include this information in their clinical work to help our population.
“If we can get that message across to our public about the importance of exercise, we can prevent so many from getting to the point where they even need to come to hospital for our help.”
Physical Activity Clinical Champions programme
The Physical Activity Clinical Champions (PACC) programme is part of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme (MHPP). It is a partnership programme led by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and Sport England.
It aims to increase awareness, skills and change clinical practice of health professionals in the promotion of physical exercise to patients at risk of, or with, health conditions.
Leanne has visited staff in dozens of organisations to deliver the training programme, including:
- Neighbouring health trusts
- GP practices
The roles are now vacant for other colleagues to apply for – and Leanne has sent colleagues a strong recommendation to find out more.
She said: “With my background in paediatrics, it was treating so many children who weren’t active enough which has really driven my interest and passion in this key issue.
“Our focus must change – we need to think about the long term impact of our health choices.
“Delivering the training has been a fantastic experience. Even people I have trained who know a great deal about this have come away having learned something new.
“I strongly recommend this role to any colleagues across my organisation or elsewhere who may be interested in this.”