The Active Hospital pilot: A qualitative study exploring the implementation of a Trust-wide Sport and Exercise Medicine-led physical activity intervention

Anna Myers, Helen Quirk, Anna Lowe, Helen Crank, David Broom, Natasha Jones, Hamish Reid, Chris Speers, Robert Copeland

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    6 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background In 2017 Public Health England and Sport England commissioned a Consultant-led Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) pilot to test the feasibility and acceptability of embedding physical activity interventions in secondary care clinical pathways. The aim of this paper is to report qualitative findings exploring the experience of healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients involved in the Active Hospital pilot. Methods Qualitative data was collected by semi-structured interviews with Active Hospital pilot SEM Consultants, and staff and patients involved in three clinical pathways. Interviews with SEM Consultants explored the experience of developing and implementing the pilot. Interviews with staff and patients explored the experience of delivering and receiving Active Hospital interventions. Data were analysed thematically. Results Interviews identified the importance of the Active Hospital pilot being Consultant-led for the following reasons; i) having trusting relationships with decision makers, ii) having sufficient influence to effect change, iii) identifying champions within the system, and iv) being adaptable to change and ensuring the programme fits within the wider strategic frameworks. HCPs emphasised the importance of the Active Hospital interventions fitting easily within existing work practices, the need for staff training and to tailor interventions for individual patient needs. The Active Hospital pilot was well received by patients, however a lack of dedicated resource and capacity to deliver the intervention was highlighted as a challenge by both patients and HCPs. Conclusion The SEM Consultants' ability to navigate the political climate of a large National Health Service (NHS) Trust with competing agendas and limited resource was valuable. The interventions were well received and a valued addition to usual clinical care. However, implementation and ongoing delivery of the pilot encountered challenges including lack of capacity within the system and delays with recruiting to the delivery teams in each pathway.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0257802
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 Myers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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