LOCAL people living with low risk medical conditions, including obesity and back pain, have been encouraged to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle by joining Barnsley Premier Leisure’s new health referral scheme, which provides access to subsidised exercise sessions.
The scheme is a 12-week intervention, delivered under the BPL Community Health banner, and provides opportunities for individuals who meet the criteria to attend supervised and structured physical activity sessions, designed to help them improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Health referral scheme co-ordinator Mark Goodhead said: “From 2008 to 2013, BPL was commissioned by NHS Barnsley to deliver an exercise referral scheme in Barnsley.
“Unfortunately, funding for the programme ceased which meant Barnsley was one of a small number of areas in the country without an exercise referral scheme of some sort, either funded or delivered independently, offered to its residents.
“BPL have recognised the need for an intervention of this type and having the facilities and qualified staff to deliver the scheme, are pleased to launch the health referral scheme to be able to give people with low risk medical conditions the opportunity to manage and improve their health through structured physical activity sessions.”
Participants can either be referred by their health professional or via self-referral and will be able to attend scheduled sessions at BPL sites around Barnsley, paying either a minimal charge of £3 per session or taking out a reduced rate membership.
Self-referral will be encouraged through marketing literature and social media, which will direct people to the BPL Community Health webpage where they can self-refer online.
Mark added: “The acceptance of self-referrals into an exercise referral scheme is unusual, however BPL would like to encourage people who are motivated to make this lifestyle change to refer themselves into the programme without the need to make an appointment with their health professional, which alleviates any additional pressure on NHS services.
“Physical activity is a proven method in the management and improvement of many low risk medical conditions, as well as prevention of other health risk factors.
“The evidence base is now well established for the use of exercise in the promotion of both physical and mental health, the prevention of physical inactivity related disease and the management of chronic disease.
“The Health Referral Scheme aims to help reduce these risk factors through promoting physical activity as a long term and sustainable lifestyle change.”
Following completion of the programme, participants will be given a helping hand to continue their fitness journey with the offer of reduced rate BPL membership, along with no joining fee or minimum term contract.
More information on criteria for the scheme and a selfreferral form can be found www.bpl.org.uk/barnsleycommunity-health
Inclusion Criteria Patient can be referred and attend sessions supervised by Level 3 GP Referral qualified advisors.
All conditions must be diagnosed as stable and mild in severity. All patients must be aged 16+ and present one of the following conditions;
• Cancer (Remission)
• Controlled Asthma
• Controlled Type II Diabetes
• Hypertension (130-139 / 85-89 and not medication controlled)
• Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
• Mild Depression / Anxiety
• Mild Osteoarthritis
• Mild Osteoporosis
• Mild Rheumatoid Arthritis
• Obesity (BMI 30+)
• Pre & Post Operation
• Simple Mechanical Back Pain
Exclusion Criteria Patient cannot be referred Any patients presenting any of the below conditions are excluded from the scheme;
• 3 or more inclusion criteria
• High hypertension (180/100 mmHg) or uncontrolled hypertension
• Uncontrolled diabetes I or II
• Severe or poorly controlled asthma
• Chronic muscle, joint or bone conditions that greatly impede mobility or require physiotherapist treatment
• Unstable or severe mental health state
• Patients who in the Healthcare Professionals opinion are not medically fit to undertake an exercise programme How to refer Referral into the scheme can be made through the following;
• Referral by healthcare professional by post, online or secure email
• Self-Referral by post or online
By post: Health Referral Scheme, Metrodome Leisure Complex, Queens Road, Barnsley, S71 1AN Secure email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Greenfield – BPL health referral scheme case study
A DETERMINED personal trainer, who used BPL’s health referral scheme to kickstart a complete lifestyle overhaul, is now hoping to inspire others after starting work at the Metrodome.
Before qualifying as a PT and launching her business – Transform Fitness Personal Training – Tracy Greenfield, 38, from Royston, had been a Fitness Flex member for seven years after initially coming into the gym on the referral scheme.
In that time, Tracy has lost a total of 14 stone; making the decision to change her life, not only to improve her fitness levels and lose weight but to become a healthy role model for her son.
She explained: “I knew I needed to change. I’d heard about the referral scheme, so went to my doctors and asked if they would refer me. I’d been to the gym before but had never stuck at it.
“At first I was self conscious and scared. My BMI was 53, which is classed as morbidly obese.”
As the weeks went by, Tracy began to feel more confident; attending regular exercise sessions and gaining support from the referral instructor and the new friends she had made at the Metrodome.
Remaining consistent with exercise and healthy eating meant she was also starting to see changes, both physically and with her wellbeing and confidence levels, so once the scheme was finished, she was eager to carry on.
She added: “I felt more energetic and was doing more with my son. I suddenly realised I was fitter than I thought I could be. I didn’t want to let that go, so I joined up as a member.
“I’ve been coming to the gym for so long now, it’s like a second home. I know everybody, the staff are friendly and if you need any help, you only have to ask.”
After falling in love with fitness, Tracy decided she wanted to put her new found love of exercise and healthy eating to good use – and provide inspiration to others – so completed a course to become a personal trainer.
She recently started work at the Metrodome and has already taken on her first clients; aiming to be a supportive and relatable trainer who understands what they’re going through when it comes to taking those first steps to change their lives.
She added: “The referral scheme was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m a completely different person now.
“I’m more confident, I want to go out more and meet new people. Before I would shy away from it.
“A lot of people look to somebody like me because I’m walking, talking proof that it can be done, but also because I can put myself in their shoes. They know they can talk to me and I’m going to get where they’re coming from.
“I love it. I’ve never been as happy in my life or as career focused. If I can inspire just one person to change, then I’d be more than happy with that.”