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Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is joining two other Trust’s in England to pilot the Active Hospitals project.

Following interest from over twenty NHS hospitals, the pilot is an opportunity to create cultural change across care. The aim of the project is to increases the amount of physical activity for patients, to assist their recovery and longer-term health, by embedding physical activity within hospital care. It also gives healthcare colleagues the information and support they need to have meaningful conversations about exercise with patients.

Hospitals are often dominated by a culture of rest, but evidence demonstrates that disease outcomes can be improved by moving more.

Through Active Hospitals, Sheffield Children’s will be making physical activity a key part of recovery plans for children and young people, whilst also offering more resources to support staff, patients and their families. Initially the scheme will form part of the services in respiratory, oncology and pre-operative treatment.

Ruth Brown, Deputy Chief Executive said: “This initiative will be a fantastic offer for our patients and their families. Staff across the Trust are keen to find new ways of supporting our patients, and this is a great way to help alongside other treatment options.

“We work hard to make sure we are offering the best holistic care for the children and young people. Our involvement in the project is one way we are working to continue improving our services and provide the best possible care we can.”

Olympic gold medallist Jess Ennis-Hill has given her support to the scheme, saying: “Sheffield Children’s provides amazing care to their patients, looking after their physical and mental health. As a patron of The Children’s Hospital Charity, it is amazing to hear about Sheffield Children’s involvement with the Active Hospitals initiative and I hope this will provide many positive experiences for patients everywhere, evolving the care Sheffield gives, with more support and access to activities which can help them.”

The Active Hospitals project - funded by Public Health England (PHE) and Sport England and the National Lottery and led by the NHS Transformation Unit (TU) - will be piloted at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Healthcare professionals play a unique role in supporting patients to be active, with nine in ten people stating that they would accept advice from hospital doctors.[1]

Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, Greg Fell, fully supports Sheffield Children’s involvement in the Active Hospitals project. He said: “Sheffield Children’s consistently models effective public health advocacy and engagement both across the organisation and wider community. It is a key player in our citywide work and leads on partnership approaches to improving health and wellbeing.

“Taking part in this project is a great example of partnership working in healthcare and across the region, with the aim of supporting children, young people and their families.

“Sheffield Children’s is a unique setting in Sheffield as through its hospital and community work the Trust reaches the full 0-19 years age range, impacting on all children and young people’s lives. As such, it is in a great place to become a Public Health England Active Hospital, which will also reach out into the wider community settings given its links with schools and the local community.”

Alex Heritage, Chief Executive for NHS Transformation Unit, comments: “Recent events have placed an even greater importance on physical activity and the benefits it provides to the health and wellbeing of the population. We are delighted to be working alongside the Active Hospital sites to create sustainable and seismic change across clinical care pathways, embedding innovations and the Active Hospitals approach.”

Sarah Ruane, Strategic Lead for Health at Sport England, comments “We are delighted to be working with the three NHS Trusts and the NHS TU to gain valuable insight into how healthcare professionals can best support outpatients and inpatients to get active. This is so important, as it can improve outcomes for patients, helping to manage health conditions and improve wellbeing. There is also evidence it can help reduce their length of stay, which is good for both the patient and the hospital.  We look forward to working with the hospitals and the wider community of practice to support NHS Trusts to develop a culture of physical activity across a range of services and care pathways.”


Video message from Jess Ennis-Hill:

[1] Health Survey for England 2016; Skelton DA, Mavroedi A (2018) JFSF 3(2):74-84; PHE / Ipsos MORI, unpublished