Published: 11/11/2004, Volume II4, No. 5931 Page 10

The NHS has officially thrown its weight behind the bid to bring the Olympic games to London in 2012.

NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp has personally declared that the NHS now 'backs the bid', and all NHS trusts, primary care trusts, and other NHS bodies are being encouraged to announce their backing by adding messages of support to official publications and web sites.

A series of posters (see picture below) have also been designed to announce the NHS' support for the Olympic bid, and they will be displayed in London and other towns and cities around the country.

Haringey teaching PCT chair Richard Sumray, who also heads the London 2012 Forum which co-ordinates support for the bid, said the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the games would consider the health benefits of holding the Olympics in the host country for the first time.

A detailed dossier on the likely benefits to the whole of the UK, including health, will be produced in the next fortnight.The IOC will visit London to assess the bid in February.

London is currently considered one of the favourites in the contest to hold the games in 2012, along with Paris, New York and Madrid.Detailed provisional plans were announced this week for the development of stadiums on a brownfield site in north east London.

Locally, the NHS could benefit from a new polyclinic and a centre for sporting medicine, but North East London strategic health authority chief executive Carolyn Regan has addressed the other 27 SHA chief executives on the likely benefits of the bid for the NHS nationally.

She said there was overwhelming enthusiasm for the Olympic bid from all parts of the country.

'The SHA executives are behind the bid unanimously, ' she said. 'It is a great opportunity to link health with exercise.

'It will provide numerous role models, and lots of opportunities to get the public health message across.'