Exercise referral program a local hit
A SYDNEY GP division’s partnership with local doctors and fitness providers has been so successful it is set to expand.
The exercise referral program, which to date has 113 area GPs registered, is founded on a UK model and began as a pilot in 2004 as a way of meeting the need for a physical activity program in the Sutherland Shire. It has since had more than 3000 referrals and will continue to operate under Medicare Local changes.
The Sutherland Shire GP Division is in talks with Caringbah YMCA to provide another site for its GP Exercise Referral Scheme (GPERS), which is currently partnered with two leisure centres owned by the local council.
Eligible patients include those with diabetes, clinical obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, stable heart condition and COPD. Once their GP has completed a form outlining medications, allergies and medical history, the patient is referred to a leisure centre where an accredited exercise physiologist prescribes an exercise program.
Participating GP Dr Owen Brookes said he had seen patients “go from impaired glucose tolerance back to normal on their glucose tolerance – so you can see really positive outcomes”.