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Science Committee welcome government response to sport and exercise science and medicine report

The Government has today published its response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's report Sport and exercise science and medicine: building on the Olympic legacy to improve the nation's health.

In response to the Committee the Government accepts its recommendation that that all health care professionals should be fully aware of the role physical activity can play in preventing and treating a range of chronic conditions. For example, they agree that physical activity indicators should form part of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)

The Government also accept a number of other recommendations from the Committee including that:

  • the biomedical basis for improving performance of elite athletes needs to be of the highest quality and meet international peer-review standards. The response sets out steps the Government will take to ensure this is the case.
  • the effective translation of scientific breakthroughs into health benefits for patients and the public is of crucial importance.

Commenting Lord Krebs, Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said:

“We are pleased that the Government has acknowledged our concerns that promotion of physical activity was not consistent among GPs. Physical activity is vital in preventing and alleviating a huge range of health problems and it is right that GPs understand when and how to prescribe it.

“We are however disappointed that the Government do not take seriously our concerns about the lack of joined-up thinking and working between the Department of Health and the Department of Culture Media and Sport about the health benefits of exercise.

“Sports Minister Hugh Robertson told us that he was interested only in increasing participation in sport, not using sport to improve the nation's health. We were surprised by that response at the time and we remain concerned that, whilst they have made some efforts to work across departments, the Government have not acknowledged that this is an area where they need to do better."