WORKFORCE: GPs in the capital are cynical about a major campaign to encourage physical activity in patients with long terms conditions, reflecting a wider lack of enthusiasm about exercise programmes, a study suggests.

The research was commissioned by NHS London to inform the development of the capital’s phase of a national campaign to increase physical activity among over 55s with long term conditions.

The Your Personal Best campaign was launched last month by the SHA in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and was “inspired” by the London Olympics.

But independent research consultants found an “element of cynicism” about the timing of the campaign among GPs, who had also erected a range of “barriers” about physical activity programmes.   

For example, GPs’ “own lack of exercise” was frequently mentioned as a barrier to encouraging and motivating patients, while others said they had no time to broach the topic in consultations. Others “simply did not know” about programmes in their area and “needed to be told repeatedly” about them.

Others, while believing that physical activity was part of their remit, thought that “simply by referring their ‘job was done’”.

The consultants interviewed 21 GPs and 16 practice staff from 12 practices across three London boroughs – Enfield, Newham and Kingston.

The study is available on the National Social Marketing Centre’s new One Stop Shop website, which offers access to previously unpublished public health research.