Time for AHPs to walk the talk with the evidence. (First posted 24/06/13)

After the spread and success of AHPsDayScot last week it seems appropriate to repost this blog from Ann Gates from @ExerciseWorks which emphasised one of the common themes which regulary popped up last week…..walk the talk with the evidence

Just before you read on…here are some stats from last week.



I have recently given 2 presentations to doctors and predominantly allied health professionals (AHPs) and asked for a straw poll from the audiences, asking…

  1. Who had seen Dr Mike Evans 23 ½ hours video on exercise?
  2. Who had seen the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care, published in May 2013.

On both polls, at 2 separate presentations, the answers to both questions were ‘No’? from about 80%+ of the audience.

This is worrying on many reasons because it indicates that many health professionals are still not accessing key resources to help promote exercise as a medicine via international and national means. It also implies the use of social media to help #trend key learning and best practice didn’t seem to be reaching the very people that are a lead ‘physical activity advocates’- namely AHPs!

The NICE guidance is exceptional in remit. NICE proposes and supports through clinical and cost effective evidence for promoting physical activity in primary care by:

  • identifying adults who are inactive
  • delivering brief advice
  • following up brief advice
  • incorporating brief advice in commissioning
  • systems to support brief advice
  • information and training to support brief advice


These are all incredibly important actions for ALL health professionals working in primary care (and I would argue would serve as best practice for those in secondary care also).

For us, this is something we have been working towards for over 2 years- (‘trained to give exercise advice’) allied health professionals to give exercise advice, to every patient, at every opportunity……

For the essence of both ‘23 ½ hours’ and the NICE guidance to be lost within the day to day ‘busyness’ of the NHS does our professional credibility and clinical influence a huge disservice in promoting ‘life saving’ exercise advice to patients.

What’s worse, is many patient’s may still be missing out on that ‘vital sign’ of inactivity and understanding of which exercises work for their disease condition despite the clinical evidence being readily available!

Besides. if now over 2 million people in the Arab world have seen 23 ½ hours then I truly believe that as AHPs, and especially as AHPs in Scotland, we should endeavour to ensure that Dr Mike Evans video is played in every GP surgery, clinic or community hospital, EVERYWHERE, to raise awareness that ‘Exercise Works! in the prevention and treatment of disease…..

And as for implementing the NICE guidance…. all AHPs pledged last year to promote physical activity to every patient… so come on Scotland let’s lead the way again! There’s a huge opportunity to trend 23 ½ hours in English and Gaelic across Scotland and the world!


Blog by Ann Gates BPharm(Hons) MRPharmS

Founder of Exercise Works!

For details on our 2 day course for AHPs on giving exercise advice, please see our brochure for the doctors’ course “exercise as a critical medicine.” We are developing another course for the international AHP audience. Comments on course content most welcome: [email details here] or if you are an AHP and want to submit a blog to us then get in touch.

Photo showing how nordic walking is just great, fun exercise!


Reproduced with permissions from British Nordic Walking



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