A doctors surgery has become the first in Suffolk to “prescribe” parkrun to patients who would benefit from being more active.

A “social prescribing” scheme was started earlier this year by parkrun UK and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

It allows doctors to prescribe outdoor activity rather than medication.

The Leiston Surgery has become a registered “parkrun practice”, with its nearest event based at Sizewell.

Suffolk County Council said other GP practices in Suffolk will be following Leiston’s lead, with a number of doctors surgeries working with the NHS to create parkrun practices linked with the Ipswich parkrun in Chantry and Christchurch parks.In June, a scheme was launched by parkrun UK and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to allow doctors to prescribe outdoor activity rather than medication to improve their patients’ health.

Now it has been announced The Leiston Surgery will be the first in Suffolk to become a “parkrun practice” – and the hope is many others will follow.

GPs at the surgery will now promote the parkrun event at nearby Sizewell to patients they feel could benefit from more physical activity.

Parkrun is a free 5k event held at multiple locations every Saturday morning at 9am, which people can walk, jog or run.

Former ironman triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington, global head of health and wellbeing at parkrun, said: “This exciting and game-changing initiative with the RCGP is a tremendous opportunity for all staff and patients to realise the wide-ranging health benefits that parkrun participation can bring, and we are delighted to see that the concept is being embraced in Suffolk.”

Dr Juno Jesuthasan, from the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the major public health problems of the 21st Century, affecting both our physical and mental wellbeing.
“GP practices already actively engage with their patients on how taking more exercise can be bring a host of health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
“The parkrun Practice is an initiative we support and hope that other GP practices will sign up and encourage many more people to get active.”
Parkruns are free, weekly events organised by local volunteer teams in more than 750 locations across the UK offering 5km (3 mile) and 2km (1.2 mile) runs.
Suffolk County Council said about 2,000 participants take part in parkruns across the county every week.

source: BBC / EADT

Images: pebbleMedia