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Prescribing activity same as prescribing drugs say MSPs

By 11 December 2019No Comments

MSPs have recommended a change in medical thinking in Scotland by placing social prescriptions on the same level as medical prescriptions and stating that the funding of sport and physical activity more than pays for itself as a valuable investment in the health of the nation.

The Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, made up of MSPS from all Scottish parties, recently completed an investigation into ‘Social Prescribing’, where GPs and other health professionals invest in physical and other activities instead of, or alongside, drugs to treat and prevent illnesses. The report took evidence from a wide range of experts, including Professor Richard Davison of the Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS), and it concluded:

“There are no doubts about the significant role physical activity and sport, and social prescribing, can contribute as part of preventative care for health and wellbeing … Social prescribing cannot be seen as a cost-free alternative. Sport and physical activity is an investment, not a cost.”

OSS board member and UWS professor, Davison made a significant contribution to the report through leading OSS submissions and contributing his expert analysis to a round-table session at Holyrood.

The report stated that “the growing inequality between active and non-active populations by area of deprivation, with its consequential health and wellbeing impacts, needs to be addressed,” and added, “we recommend social prescriptions are treated on an equal basis to medical prescriptions, when issued by health and social care professionals.”

Professor Davison commented:
“The report’s conclusions and recommendations strike a good balance between the available evidence and the recognised practical difficulty of creating a social prescribing service for sport and physical activity that could potentially have a significant effect on the health and wellbeing of those who need it most.
“I was happy to provide input and help to shape the report because having spent many years researching the physical and health benefits that arise from regular sport and physical activity, I recognise that we have not been very good at convincing a large portion of the population to undertake enough exercise.
“The Observatory for Sport in Scotland is a valuable contributor to areas such as this, where we are bringing reliable, credible research, evidence and analysis to stakeholders from the Scottish Government to local authorities and communities. That will effect change because it helps decision-makers deliver more confident and effective policies that genuinely can improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of every person in Scotland.
“The report is very important in its recognition that there is real potential for Social Prescribing of Sport and Physical Activity to reach some key priority groups but that this requires investment.”


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