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Growing number of practices signposting patients to parkrun

16% of UK practices have signed up to the RCGP-backed parkrun initiative to encourage patients to participate

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 24 January 2020

More than 16% of practices in the UK have now registered to become a parkrun practice to encourage patients to participate in parkrun – a 5k run that takes place in parks across the country every weekend.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and parkrun UK launched the parkrun practice initiative in 2018 to promote the social prescribing of physical activity through participation in local 5k parkrun events. The initiative enables GPs and practice staff to socially prescribe physical activity by referring patients to one of the more than 660 parkruns that take place throughout the UK every weekend. Participants can walk or run the course and on registering receive a barcode so that they can monitor their progress over time.

Chrissie Wellington, global head of health and wellbeing at parkrun UK said: “In 16 months we have seen over 1,350 GP practices link with their local parkruns to increase the health of staff and patients and create positive, supportive communities that are centred on wellness. This partnership shows the immense value of bringing together the health and voluntary sectors in pursuit of shared goals, and we look forward to building on this successful collaboration in future.

Dr Andrew Boyd, GP partner, Clapham Park Group Practice in London, said: “We have been blown away by the response from GPs and their teams to this initiative. Its success demonstrates there is a growing appetite amongst GPs to forge meaningful links with local assets and services to help better the health of their patients. I believe the parkrun practice initiative will be a blueprint for future partnerships between healthcare providers and other local community assets.”

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