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NICE: Exercise promotion should be included in QOF

29 May 2013

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Encouraging patients to exercise should be incorporated into the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), NICE guidelines released today suggest. 

Encouraging patients to exercise should be incorporated into the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), NICE guidelines released today suggest. 

Doing so could “raise the profile of physical activity among primary care practitioners”, the guidelines state. 
Commissioners should also ensure physical activity and the delivery of advice are built into long-term disease management strategies according to the National Institute of Care and Health Excellence (NICE). 
Information and training for primary care providers should also be given, covering how physical activity promotion fits within their remit and how to undertake physical activity assessments. 
Commissioners of health services should ensure advice is incorporated into the Care Pathway of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. 
GP, public health advisor for NHS England, Dr Matt Kearney and member of the NICE Public Health Interventions Advisory Committee (PHIAC) which developed the guidance said: "As a practising GP, I see first-hand the effects of physical inactivity, and the lasting and serious damage it can have on people’s health. 
"This guidance offers practical advice to people working in busy clinics and will help us to give straight-forward advice to people who need to improve their levels of physical activity."
Professor Mike Kelly, director of public health at NICE said: "This simple advice could have a big impact on improving lives and saving taxpayers’ money. 
"If family doctors and practice nurses follow this new guidance, it will help them deliver simple, sensible advice to people, and it will support patients to increase their physical activity levels and improve their lives."
The updated guidance suggests practice nurses and GPs should do more to identify and encourage people to be more physically active, updated NICE guidelines suggest. 
The NICE  guidance states primary care clinicians should question patients about their exercise habits, whether in consultations or as part of planned sessions on management of long-term conditions. 
However, body weight should not be the only indicator, instead a questionnaire should be used to assess activity levels. 
Advice tailored to the patient’s health status (for example whether they have a disability) should then be given, with the aim of meeting the UK physical activity guidelines. 
Practice nurses and GPs should also provide information about local opportunities to be active. 
A full copy of the guidance is available on the NICE website

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