GP Gym engagement
The GP Gym service has been running in Haringey since April 2018. It began as a one year pilot which was later extended. The service is by referral from a GP, for patients over 65 with a long-term condition that would benefit from regular, gentle exercise. At present, there is no fixed duration for the sessions and participants can attend indefinitely.
In August 2019 an engagement exercise was carried out to establish what users felt about the service provided and to determine its future. A member of the CCG’s Planned Care team visited one of the weekly gym sessions and completed 21 face-to-face paper surveys. Four additional surveys were completed online.
What the service users told us
The main feedback that came out of the responses were:
- Service users feel better after doing exercise in the gym – both physically and mentally
- Service users like the social aspect of the gym and the non-threatening nature (it’s not full of fitter, younger people)
- It is low cost and good value
- It is well suited to the ability of users
- Users felt that the location was close to home and easy to get to
Most people hadn’t tried alternative classes. Of those that had previously attended similar, Council run gym sessions the main reasons they gave for no longer attending were:
- Class timetable
Following collation of the data from the surveys the CCG invited three service users, the current service provider and colleagues from acute services to a discussion to feedback the findings and discuss next steps. Participants discussed how the current service could fit into a step-down model and what additional support people would need to find suitable, alternative universal services after they had completed their GP gym sessions.
Feedback and next steps
To give other residents, who might benefit from these sessions, the opportunity to take part, the CCG is proposing that the programme runs for up to 16 weeks for each participant.
Some service users would like the class to continue running indefinitely for current users, which we explained would mean that the classes would not be able to accept new people who might benefit, and would remain a resource for those already attending only.
A business case is currently being developed to consider the future of the service.
This will include the recommendation that the NHS funds the first 16 weeks of classes for participants, after which Haringey's GP Federation could offer (and fund) additional classes where appropriate. We're also recommending that GPs must engage with social prescribers, local area coordinators and other exercise class providers to be able to provide people with better information about the wider range of options available in borough.