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Doctors and nurses swap stethoscopes for running shoes

PUBLISHED: 14:15 31 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:15 31 March 2019

The Ipswich parkrun 'NHS takeover' Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Ipswich parkrun 'NHS takeover' Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

NHS staff from across east Suffolk ‘took over’ Ipswich’s parkrun in Christchurch Park this weekend – hot on the heels of a scheme which sees GPs prescribe 5k runs over drugs.

Hundreds of people took on the Christchurch Park challenge on Saturday Picture: RACHEL EDGEHundreds of people took on the Christchurch Park challenge on Saturday Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Runners may have spotted staff from their local GP surgery blowing the whistle, marshalling or throwing themselves into the 5k run themselves.

By cheering runners on and improving their own fitness, they wanted to encourage even more people to take on the challenge.

NHS staff took part in the parkrun and acted as marshalls Picture: RACHEL EDGENHS staff took part in the parkrun and acted as marshalls Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The aim of the ‘takeover’ event, bosses said, was to show how parkrun can help to boost fitness, make new friends, cope with health problems and socialise with others in an outdoor environment.

It comes as 13 GP surgeries across Suffolk have signed up to be ‘parkrun practices’.

Doctors and nurses swapped their stethoscopes for running boots at Ipswich parkrun Picture: RACHEL EDGEDoctors and nurses swapped their stethoscopes for running boots at Ipswich parkrun Picture: RACHEL EDGE

This means doctors may prescribe their patients exercise – in the form of a parkrun – over medicine, where appropriate.

“We have now been a parkrun practice for the last three months,” said Sandra Price, of the Barrack Lane Medical Centre in Ipswich.

It was part of an initiative which sees GPs prescribe parkruns over drugs Picture: RACHEL EDGEIt was part of an initiative which sees GPs prescribe parkruns over drugs Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“The parkrun is ideal for patients who would benefit from increasing their activity or by having the opportunity to socialise and be part of a friendly community.

“The aim of the linkup is to encourage active lifestyles to both patients and staff.”

MORE: First ever ‘parkrun practice’ opens in Suffolk

Ipswich parkrun director Graham Rodgers said he is proud to be part of the link-up.

“We had a fabulous morning with 12 of the volunteering roles (run director, timekeeping, scanning and marshalling) filled by NHS staff,” he added.

“Many of the 459 runners and walkers were also representing the NHS.

“The opportunity to encourage and promote the health and wellbeing of individuals, reducing the need for lifelong medication is something that Ipswich parkrun is passionate about.”

Adam Baker,Adam Baker, who plays a role in Suffolk’s bid to be England’s Most Active County, said the county council’s ambition is to see more practices sign up.

“We know that social prescribing to help the significant life-limiting effects of physical inactivity,” he added.

“Evidence suggests more of us would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse.”

To find out more about parkruns, and to sign up, visit this website.

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