Supporting staff and patients to be more active within secondary care settings

To assist NHS Trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside to strengthen and scale up population-level prevention priorities, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Population Health Board has worked with public health charity Health Equalities Group to develop an NHS Prevention Pledge for all 17 NHS Trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside.

MSP and Active Cheshire, as part of the All Together Active physical activity strategy for health and social care, are working with the Health Equalities Group and the 18 NHS Trusts across the subregion to build actions into their Prevention Pledge commitments designed to increase physical activity levels for staff and patients.

Practical examples of supporting Trusts includes:

  • Exploring opportunities to use physical activity as a tool to improve patient outcomes and NHS outcomes through pathway redesign
  • Expanding provision for staff to take part in on-site and virtual physical activity sessions, walking groups and accessing exercise equipment/infrastructure
  • Upskilling staff to better promote physical activity to their colleagues and patients
  • Promotion of and participation in active travel schemes/infrastructure
  • Developing a physical activity policy/framework for staff
  • Joining a national community of practice network to gain learning about embedding physical activity within secondary care

Case study: the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust have been supported to embed physical activity support for staff and patients, including:

  • Involved in initiatives designed to support patients as part of their treatment and recovery, e.g. Access to Exercise programme
  • Signed up to the NHS North West Games, with staff participating each year
  • Offer Cycle to Work scheme to staff, and have also purchased x10 pool bikes for staff to use inside and outside of work
  • Link with LUHFT to offer physical activity classes for staff. Also looking to upskill a member of staff as a This Girl Can Class deliverer
  • Provide regular staff physical activity events through Trust charity e.g. Walk Walton
  • Promote physical activity through Wellbeing Newsletter
  • Signed up to Active Sefton service and run collaborative workshops
  • Physical activity promoted through Wellbeing Teams model across all departments

Case study: Active Hospital programme – Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust has been pioneering in developing an ‘Active Hospital’ programme, that aims to change the physical activity culture within secondary care to encourage patients to move more and remain active during their hospital stay.

Based on the #EndPJParalysis principles and Moving Medicine resource, the programme focuses on reducing hospital associated deconditioning (HAD) with a collaborative whole-organisation approach.  They have successfully piloted a “Ready, Dress, Go” culture with the majority of the wards within the hospitals:

  • Ready: give patients and families information about deconditioning, and train staff in the risks
  • Dress: All staff to promote normal daily activity on the ward for patient recovery in acute setting
  • Go: All staff enable patients to participate in activity, movement and exercise as essential part of routine clinical care

The Trust also participated in the National Reconditioning Games initiative in order to engage clinical teams within the programme.

As part of the initial pilot period a whole variety of metrics were collected in order to evidence outcomes; it was demonstrated that there was a 22% reduction in inpatient falls, plus patient activity levels, morale and satisfaction levels all increased significantly too.

Project learning

  • With Trust colleagues often struggling for capacity, it has been fantastic to see Trusts located in close proximity collaborating together to share resources and open up access to NHS colleagues outside of their own Trust
  • There are some brilliant examples of physical activity used within patient pathways that could be upscaled further across the region in order to improve outcomes for both patients and the NHS
  • Whilst physical activity is a specific commitment as part of the NHS Prevention Pledge, we have seen it used as evidence to meet some of the other Pledge commitments – for example, workforce development, adaopting a MECC approach, partnership working and transforming services to embed prevention

Further information

For further information about this project please contact Danny Woodworth (Partnership Manager for Health) via

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