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More people, more active, more often. That is ukactive’s vision, and it is something that permeates through everything we do as an organisation.

To achieve this, we work with a broad coalition of partners and stakeholders who are committed to championing the fun of being active, and embedding physical activity into the heart of our communities.
[emaillocker] However, decades of decisions have failed to consider the importance of promoting activity. This has led to an alarming decline in our health. Inactive people spend 38 per cent more days in hospital than their active counterparts , and estimates suggest that physical inactivity is responsible for up to 37,000 premature deaths per year in England. We must take action to reverse this.

Indeed, it is well documented that the NHS is under significant pressure. Hospital admissions have increased 3.6 per cent a year since 2003-4 , which has coincided with a period of limited resources. This means that the NHS is under huge strain, and cannot continue to meet rising demand and maintain standards of care within constrained resources indefinitely. At this year’s Conservative Party Conference, Jeremy Hunt said that the NHS is not a political football, but something we all need to work together to support . To truly support the NHS, we must work together to limit the demand for hospital care. We need to focus on prevention.

At ukactive’s National Summit in 2016, I called for the Government’s Industrial Strategy to lead a £1billion regeneration scheme to transform the UK’s ageing fleet of leisure centres into new community wellness hubs and the preventative frontline of the NHS. The wellness hub model, pioneered by Sport England, combines swimming pools, gyms and sports halls, with GP drop-in centres, libraries and police services, to create a one-stop-shop for public services.

Having physical activity and health services located under one roof would make it easier for GPs to prescribe exercise plans for patients battling lifestyle conditions and signpost them towards wellness professionals – while taking some of the load off hospitals. Putting physical activity – described by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges as a miracle cure – at the heart of community infrastructure is the only long-term solution to saving the NHS from bankruptcy.