The fi tness sector was not consulted about the Fit Miles initiative
Are we missing a trick by not having a clear proposition for the NHS? Andy King Link4Life As a sector are we guilty of talking ourselves out of believing we can help address the obesity problem in this country? Are we missing a trick by not having a clear proposition for the NHS and failing our public by not doing all we can to address obesity? We need to address the confidence issues we seem to have and agree we can offer a service at least as good, if not better, than anyone else. 44
Issue 4 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021
A ‘whole systems’ approach to the issue is required. The new Sport England Strategy and the chance we now have to rethink ourselves as a sector gives us a fantastic opportunity to reposition ourselves as wellbeing centres for the community. We need a national plan which places public sector leisure at the heart of a new wellbeing approach and we need Sport England to work with the NHS to agree how our sector can offer it exceptional value by providing weight management and other services, utilising our assets in order to signpost the sector. Our sector is facing a fundamental, existential crisis, yet the population has never needed more support to address a multitude of long-term conditions. Can we help people towards a healthy attitude to life by utilising our qualified staff and facilities? Or shall we continue leaving this complex issue to others who are happy to be commissioned to deliver where we feel we are not able? We need to collaborate and agree on some national solutions – what’s working out there now that we could scale? How can we co-design programmes with health, as we have in Greater Manchester with the GM Cancer Team? If we get our act together no one will be able to match our sector. As my late dad used to say: “if not you, then who?”
to all of 250 kcals on average, this will do very little to tackle the obesity crisis. We’re essentially hoping to heal a gunshot wound with a plaster and a lollipop. What is needed is a Work Out to Help Out scheme, to subsidise gym memberships for three months by 50 per cent. We are campaigning for £500m and have set a conservative goal of a 50 per cent increase in service users during this time. Putting this into perspective, the hospitality industry’s Eat Out to Help Out resulted in a 214 per cent increase in service users. As our sector already saves the country about £24bn a year, Work Out to Help Out could save an additional £3bn in 12 weeks. Therefore making a profit of £2.5bn. This could protect our NHS, reduce public spending, increase the quality of national health, all of which is achievable if government opens communication channels with our sector when planning the scheme.