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Exercise Referral

National Exercise Referral Framework

A 2013 review of the HSE funded GP Exercise Referral Programme (GPERP) highlighted the need for a new National Exercise Referral Framework that would integrate the promotion of physical activity into care pathways across the health services.  In 2014, a proposed National Exercise Referral Framework developed by DCU was published.  In October 2016, the HSE Healthy Eating & Active Living Policy Priority Programme set up a NERF pre-development group to review the evidence for exercise referral and to co-ordinate preparatory work to inform our approach.

Activities carried out since October 2016:

  • A review of the evidence to support exercise referral schemes (ERS)
  • A mapping exercise of structured exercise programmes within the HSE nationally
  • Facilitated Focus Groups with Service Users
  • Facilitated Focus Groups with Practice Nurses
  • Engagement with the National Co-Ordinator of the Welsh National Exercise Referral System (NERS)
  • Engagement with the Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager of the Northern Ireland Physical Activity Referral Scheme (PARS)

 Over the next three years (2018 – 2021) the HSE will, as a priority: 

a)      Implement Making Every Contact Count Health Behavioural Change Framework 

b)      Implement the Self-Management Support Framework (SMS) for patients living with chronic diseases, including COPD, Asthma, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease 

c)       Expand the reach of the facilities and amenities directory on getirelandactive.ie 

d)      Work through Local Sports Partnerships to increase opportunities to participate in health enhancing physical activity in the community 

e)      Develop and roll out an electronic National Behavioural Support Management System in the HSE 

f)       Support investment in robust evaluation of existing programmes such as Croí Community Based Cardiac Rehabilitation (CBCR) Programme, Men on the Move and the DCU MedEx Programme 

g)      Invest in a research collaboration through Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) to develop a community intervention to increase physical activity in those aged 50+ 

h)      Monitor developments in exercise referral evidence based research worldwide and in particular await the outcomes of the Northern Ireland Physical Activity Referral Scheme evaluation

The National Exercise Referral Document and the Exercise Referral for the Health Services Briefing Document are available to view and download below.