Active Medicine Programme

"If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat”

UK Chief Medical Officers, 2019

Active Medicine is a collaborative programme between the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire West Integrated Care System (ICS) members and the local Active Partnerships: Get Berkshire Active, Leap, and Active Oxfordshire. It's one of Sport England's Workforce Innovation Projects to test and learn locally, gaining funding for a 2-year period starting in October 2019. A further year of funding has been provided by Health Education England Thames Valley.

The programme was formally evaluated by an external partner (Press Red) and their two reports (learning process and metrics) can be read here.

Progress Highlights

First 24 months

  1. We've delivered 'Helping People Become More Active' Workshops to around 500 front-line voluntary and community sector (VCS) and council roles
  2. More than 550 health and social care staff have been trained through Thames Valley wide PHE Physical Activity in Clinical Care (Clinical Champions) Training
  3. We've delivered Motivational Interviewing & Physical Activity Courses (Get Berkshire Active) or jointly with Oxfordshire CCG to around 85 people
  4. We've supported nearly 150 social prescribers through various training options
  5. We've launched our online learning hubs to raise awareness of all the existing free training and support available around physical activity for health and social care workforces, both locally and nationally

Take a look at our summary infographics at the bottom of the page for more detail and breakdown by county.

You can find out more about all of the training and workshop options on our Learning Hubs for Get Berkshire Active, Leap, and Active Oxfordshire.

Here's a snapshot of feedback ...

Results from PHE Physical Activity in Clinical Care Training - see below for full infographics

The Rationale

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for mortality and non-communicable diseases, accounting for around 1 in 6 deaths in the UK. Whilst the CMO advises adults achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, around 1 in 3 men and 1 in 2 women do not reach those guidelines.

There is a strong evidence base for the promotion of physical activity by healthcare professionals to create behaviour change in patients, whether that is through brief or very brief advice, or longer interventions. Ultimately, evidence shows that people are more likely to undertake physical activity if advised by a healthcare professional.

While most people working in health and social care roles have both the opportunity and motivation to encourage physical activity in some form, due to a lack of training and support (capability), these conversations are not happening as much as they could be.

The Aim

Our BOB Collaboration

The Active Medicine Programme is led by the three Active Partnerships in collaboration with:

  • Public Health England (PHE) South East*
  • Health Education England (HEE) Thames Valley*
  • Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire West HEE Training Hubs
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Oxfordshire*, Buckinghamshire*, and Berkshire West
  • Public Health Council Teams in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire*, West Berkshire, Reading, & Wokingham*
  • District Councils in Oxford City, Cherwell, West Ox, South Ox, and Vale of White Horse
  • NHS Trusts – Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford Health, Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust, Berkshire Healthcare Trust

*Active Medicine Programme Steering Group Members

From April 2021 the programme will move to also support Milton Keynes and Berkshire East workforces in addition to BOB to cover the Thames Valley footprint

Our Plan

Improve knowledge, skills, and confidence - build workforce capability - create more positive conversations - get more inactive people active

The AMP is designed deliver through two strands:

1. Make connections within the system: Raise awareness of relevant training, resources, and support already available from national and local partners and implement national programmes locally including Moving Healthcare Professionals (PHE training, Moving Medicine, & E-learning) and Making Every Contact Count

2. Deliver where there are gaps: Provide learning opportunities for physical activity and behaviour change where local gaps and need have been identified


Active Medicine in Practice Project

Made possible with funding from the Sport Council Trust Company, the Active Medicine in Practice (AMiP) project will support three medical practices in the BOB area to join the national network of practices making positive changes in their surgeries to boost staff and patient wellbeing. We will work with these practices to develop a bespoke package of support enabling them to meet the criteria of accreditation by September 2022. The aim of AMiP is to provide support and guidance for practices in achieving the RCGP Active Practice Charter, by:

  • Reducing sedentary behaviour in staff;
  • Reducing sedentary behaviour in patients;
  • Increasing physical activity in staff;
  • Increasing physical activity in patients; and
  • Partnering with a local physical activity provider.

As a commissioned pilot project, an external evaluator has been appointed to determine the value of support by an Active Partnership in working towards Active Practice Charter status.

To find out more please contact the Active Medicine Programme Manager

Marlize De Vivo

Marlize De Vivo

Active Medicine Programme Manager

Marlize is the Active Medicine Programme Manager at Get Berkshire Active. She is a qualified Biokineticist (HPCSA registered), Sports Rehabilitator and Trainer (BASRaT registered), and professional member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). Having worked in a variety of health and sport settings as part of multi-professional teams and in various roles, she has been appointed co-director of the Perinatal Physical Activity Research Group (PPARG) which designs, conducts, and communicates research focusing on physical activity during the preconception, pregnancy, and the postnatal periods. Outside of work she's a keen advocate of fitness and is passionate about strength training for the female population.


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