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Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has called on the NHS and health professionals to make better use of the expertise within the physical activity sector to improve the delivery of personalised care.

Speaking to health leaders at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester yesterday (4 September), the ukactive Chair said personalised care can harness the power of the physical activity sector in prevention.

Personalised care features prominently in the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS has set a target of reaching 2.5 million people who will benefit from personalised care by 2024.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “Physical inactivity can have a profound impact on health, significantly increasing the chance of developing a long-term condition or co-morbidity.

“Personalised care will allow the NHS to use the miracle cure of physical activity more than it’s ever been able to before.

“Physical activity is able to treat, manage and prevent more than 20 preventable health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, and a wide range of mental health conditions.

“The roll-out of personalised care provides a unique opportunity for health professionals in the NHS to access the expertise, and the facilities, of local community providers to support patients improve their health outcomes.

“The physical activity sector is committed to unlocking its under-utilised capacity to support an ageing population – and it’s vital we do this in collaboration with the health sector.”

NHS Director of Personalised Care James Sanderson said: “We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with ukactive and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and were pleased they were able to join us today.

“Their members, partners and programmes are integral to the development and delivery of personalised care, and the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan.”

The Expo is the biggest event in the health calendar, attracting around 5,000 delegates from 469 NHS organisations, including more than 400 chief executives, chairs and directors and around 900 heads of service, senior managers and senior clinicians.

Baroness Grey-Thompson chaired a panel discussion the Personalised Care Group’s keynote presentation with a panel including NHS Director of Personalised Care James Sanderson, CEO of Queen’s Nursing Institute Dr Crystal Oldman, Chair of Think Local Act Personal Clenton Farquharson, and GP Dr Mohan Chandan.

The panel explored how personalised care can deliver better outcomes for people and the services they use. It followed a morning session looking at how the physical activity sector and health professionals can work in partnership to support personalised care and deliver improved outcomes for patients – drawing on successful examples such as the work between Wave Leisure Trust and the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke about the importance of health professionals working with local activity providers as part of a strategic collaboration, and sharing best practice findings with other local health teams.

She said the physical activity sector could help to ensure that the personalised care model can be scaled nationwide, allowing more people to manage their health conditions in a way that is right for them.

Liz Allsobrook, Head of Community and Health Improvement at Wave Leisure, said: “It was a great pleasure to be able to talk about our partnership with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust at this year’s NHS England Health and Care Expo.

“The Postural Stability Instruction and Falls Prevention classes we run in leisure centres and out in the local community have helped reduce the number of falls participants suffer, and we have seen first-hand the effect these sessions have on general health and wellbeing, with many going on to take part in other activities

“At Wave, we are continually looking to develop our programme of activities within the four core areas of; children, young people and families, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, people over the age of 50 and people with a diagnosed health condition, all to achieve positive health outcomes for people of all ages.”

To learn more about social prescribing and the opportunity for the sector, read this blog by Kenny Butler, Head of Health and Wellbeing Development at ukactive