The Exercise Referral Scheme is run jointly by the NHS and local leisure centres. Exercise can help weight loss, help control diabetes, enhance the immune system, slow the reduction in bone density and improve cardiovascular conditions. Three schemes operate in south east Essex in Castle Point, Rochford and Southend.
How it does it work?
A health professional, such as a practice nurse or GP can refer a patient to a participating leisure centre. The patient takes away the referral form and contacts the leisure centre to arrange an initial assessment. This is completed by a highly qualified fitness professional who will ascertain the fitness level of the patient and the types of exercise that will best suit them and their condition. Patients can take part in group exercise sessions with other patients or follow a personalised exercise programme of their own.
Main referral criteria
Patients will be accepted onto the scheme if they have:
- A BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more (or 27 or more for the Asian community)
- A risk of Cardiovascular Disease of 20% or more
- Type 2 diabetes
There is some flexibility if a health professional feels that a patient’s symptoms or condition will improve the exercise.
Castle Point area
The scheme takes place at Waterside Farm Leisure Centre. There are two sessions per week for ten weeks. The current cost is £2.20 per session.
The scheme takes place at Clements Hall Leisure Centre. There are two sessions per week for twelve weeks. The current cost is £2.00 per session.
The scheme takes place at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre. There are two sessions per week for ten weeks. The current cost is £2.65 per session.
For more information on the exercise referral scheme, please contact Lee Watson (Health Improvement Specialist) at NHS South East Essex on 01702 314316.
Information provided NHS South East Essex, November 2010