Researchers Looking for More Patient Volunteers for GP Exercise Referral Study, to Assess Long-Term Benefits

Patient Volunteers for GP Exercise

Researchers are looking for more patient volunteers in the U.K. for a study on whether including web-based coaching in the GP exercise referral scheme (ERS) would improve long-term health benefits.

The ERS is a method through which doctors can prescribe exercise to patients suffering from obesity, hypertension, osteoarthritis and even some forms of mental illness (i.e. depression).

Previous research has shown that the ERS has both physical and mental health benefits for patients. However, evidence also suggests that many patients either do not begin the prescribed exercise routine or do not continue with it. Low rates of uptake and engagement mean that the ERS may not be

The new study aims to see if adding a web-based coaching component to the ERS would make the program more effective, increase rates of uptake and engagement, and improve health benefits. As well, the researchers will also look at the cost-effectiveness of the program and how much it costs the National Health Service (NHS).

Patient volunteers will be divided into two groups. One group will be prescribed the regular ERS, while a second group will also be given access to e-coachER, a web-based coaching program that aims to boost their motivation, provide support, and encourage use of the ERS.

The study will determine whether the addition of e-coachER encourages more patients to follow ERS. After 12 months, the researchers will assess which group has a higher level of physical activity and how many patients have been able to meet the target of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week.

The study is being led by researchers from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, with collaboration from researchers at several other institutions.

People who believe they may be eligible for the study can find out more information by emailing, calling 07812 651805, or visiting

“Research and Projects,” Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care,

Gould, A., “Patient volunteers needed for GP exercise referral study,” Plymouth University, August 30, 2016,