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Referral scheme targeting mental health patients welcomed

19 August 2008

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A pilot GP referral scheme aimed at boosting the physical activity levels of patients with mental health issues has been hailed for adopting a “total approach to health” for the good of the community.

The Healthwise Physical Activity Referral Scheme (PARS) in Hackney aims to help people with mental health conditions that might discourage or prevent exercise, to find a suitable way to get fit and healthy.

The scheme was launched last August and has benefited almost 1,500 people from all walks of life. It is based on the award-winning Healthwise scheme in Greenwich, south London, where GPs refer patients with a range of health conditions to attend supervised programmes ranging from circuit training, aqua classes, exercise to music and gym-based sessions.

Hackney councillor Sharon Patrick, cabinet adviser for public health, said: “The council welcomes the launch of the Healthwise physical activity referral pilot scheme in Hackney. It is a wonderful partnership project to meet the challenges for a total approach to health, in our commitment to promote physical, mental and social wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities in the borough.”

Healthwise has already shown evidence of positive changes in the health and well-being of those who complete the programme of physical activity over a period of up to 26 weeks.

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Hackney Borough Council