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‘Get Physical’ initiative is template others should follow

County sports partnerships across England are being urged to follow the example of ‘Get Physical’ and set up similar collaborations to improve workplace health and wellbeing.

Dr Paul Durrands, Chief Operating Officer of Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN), is today (13 March) highlighting the success of Get Physical – and how it could be spread to other regions, at the national county sports partnerships convention in Nottingham.

Get Physical is a partnership to improve health and wellbeing in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire. It began in 2015 when the Oxford AHSN got together three county sports partnerships, Public Health England, Health Education England Thames Valley and NHS trusts.

Large regional employers including Vodafone UK, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, BMW and Unipart have also joined the partnership.

Work so far culminated in a series of roadshows in November 2016 to share best practice on health and wellbeing in the workplace. These were attended by 200 managers representing 120,000 employees across the public and private sectors.

Key messages to come out of the workshops were the direct link between physical inactivity and the diseases that cause premature death and the significant benefit to organisations and individuals of putting health and wellbeing at the heart of business plans.

Dr Durrands said: “Both public and private organisations have a common agenda around the need for a healthy workforce. Employers can make a real difference to their staff and the wider community through workplace health and wellbeing initiatives like Get Physical.

“Get Physical has achieved a lot in its first two years. It’s built strong links between county sports partnerships, the NHS, public health bodies and major employers in the private sector.

“Above all, it has highlighted the importance of a healthy workforce both for the individual and for the wider organisation – and shared some handy hints on how to achieve this.”

Dr Durrands was speaking at a workshop alongside Keith Johnston, chair of Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity (OXSPA) and Brett Nicholls, Chief Executive of Get Berkshire Active.