NHS launches prescription bikes to tackle heart disease | UK News
NHS patients in Wales will now be able to get a prescription for town bikes in an attempt to cut the risk of death from heart disease.
GPs in Cardiff will be trialling the bike share scheme in what is the first of its kind in the UK.
The pilot scheme, launched today, will allow doctors to prescribe patients with a six-month membership with bike share provider nextbike and “dish out a dose of pedal power,” NHS Wales said.
Regular cycling could cut the risk of death from heart disease by half, the health agency said.
The trial will start with two GP practices initially: Lansdowne Surgery and Fariwater Health Centre. It will run for a number of months while NHS seeks feedback from participants.
“I’m really proud to be involved in this groundbreaking pilot,” said Dr Tom Porter, a consultant with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales.
“Cycling is a fantastic form of physical activity and riding your bike is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of ill health while building your cardiovascular fitness. It’s also great for improving mental well-being too.”
Dr Porter says it’s recommended that adults are active for at least 150 minutes every week, but many people feel that 150 minutes is simply too difficult to fit into their busy schedules.
“Cycling is not only fun but can also fit into your regular routine, going to work, visiting friends or nipping to the shops, so you don’t even notice you’re racking up the minutes,” he said.
Dr Karen Pardy, one of the GPs who will be able to prescribe nextbike to their patients, said: “Whilst we are aware of the many benefits of exercise for our patients, people are sometimes reluctant to engage.
“Nextbike on prescription allows people to have a go at cycling around Cardiff and realise how this can help to support their overall well-being.”
As part of the prescription, patients will be given a unique access code which will entitle them to unlimited free 30-minute nextbike hire sessions for six months.
Representatives with nextbike said their service has been very popular with residents in the Welsh capital with over 10,000 journeys taken each week.
The company, which has 500 bikes available across Cardiff, also operates in Bath, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Exeter, Belfast, Stirling and the University of Warwick.