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Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 5

New MSc courses in Exercise as Medicine are a catalyst for change

Stuart Stokes
Stuart Stokes
Stuart Stokes,

Commercial director,

ReferAll


I was interested to read The Guardian’s recent article ‘How exercise prescription could change the NHS’, on the importance of Loughborough University’s new MSc in Exercise as Medicine, which launches this October.

Getting more people active by prescribing exercise is a hugely positive measure and the only way to encourage clinicians to write exercise rather than drug prescriptions is to give them the knowledge to do so.

However, there’s a caveat about future funding for highly qualified professionals: who will pay their hourly rate?

We work collaboratively with exercise referral scheme providers and due to funding arrangements, many operate with little or no margin within their overall budgets.

Introducing professionals with master’s degrees to this mix would add considerably to these costs and at this point, who would pick up the additional cost?

If it’s the end user, the service could be cost-prohibitive and struggle to attract the very people it’s commissioned to work with and lose funding as a result.

Fewer services could also mean less access for those most in need of exercise prescription.

However, if additional funding could be found for this ‘middle tier’ of professionals they could become crucial intermediaries between GPs and current providers, signposting patients intelligently to the services they need.

By utilising their extensive knowledge and research base, they could also bring greater understanding to both health service and activity providers.

However, this would rely on their salary being picked up outside of the remit of current referral scheme provision.

“ Introducing professionals with master’s degrees to this mix would add considerably to these costs and at this point, who would pick up the additional cost? ”

Who will pay to bring exercise specialists into the NHS? / PHOTO:  SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Who will pay to bring exercise specialists into the NHS? / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2018_5letter.jpg
Exercise as Medicine degrees are launching – who will pay for these high-level services?
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