Exercise referral schemes: call for evidence

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is in the process of updating its recommendations on exercise referral schemes as part of the partial update of public health guidance - Four commonly used methods to increase physical activity (NICE public health guidance  [2006].)

NICE has contracted the Support Unit for Research Evidence (SURE) to conduct an evidence review to cover ‘context, barriers and facilitators’ of exercise referral schemes. The review will focus on:

  • What factors do clients and providers perceive to influence referral to an exercise referral scheme?
  • What factors do prospective/actual service users and providers perceive to influence attendance at, and successful completion of, the scheme?
  • What factors do prospective/actual service users and providers perceive to influence longer-term participation in physical activity following involvement in an exercise referral scheme?

These may include:

  • The facets of an exercise referral scheme (such as the type, location or cost)
  • Factors about the service providers (such as knowledge of physical activity, awareness of awareness of local physical activity opportunities, attitude to physical activity, attitude, empathy)
  • ‘participant’ factors (such as resource, time, current health/other health conditions, age, gender, travel and/or cost)
  • Contextual factors that may act as barriers or facilitators to the optimisation of exercise referral schemes such as commissioning set up or ongoing policy frameworks.  

The evidence review will consider in depth evidence which describes a range of contexts in which exercise referral schemes operate or conditions that support effective exercise referral schemes. The review will consider uptake and adherence to exercise referral schemes and will include unpublished evaluations of exercise referral schemes (ERS) where applicable, as well as qualitative research.

We are therefore seeking relevant evidence from researchers, practitioners and other organisations working in the field that is:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research and process evaluations that report the views and perspectives of service users and providers.
  • Focused on adults aged 19 years who are ‘inactive’ (ie they are not currently meeting the UK physical activity guidelines).
  • Focused on ‘eligible service users’. This includes those who meet recommendations for exercise referral but who may not go on to participate in relevant services.
  • Family and friends of eligible service users described above.
  • All service providers involved in the recruitment of service users and delivery/commissioning of exercise referral schemes targeted toward the ‘eligible service user’ population described above.
  • Focused on ‘Exercise referral schemes’ which include:
    • An assessment by a primary care or allied health professional to determine that someone is inactive.
    • A referral by a primary care or allied health professional to a physical activity specialist or service.
    • A formal assessment by the physical activity specialist or service to determine what programme of physical activity to recommend.

This call for evidence is taking place between 15 July and 5 August 2013

Please use the relevant form from the website and send any suggestions by 5pm on 5 August 2013 to the NICE Public Health Team (exercisereferral@nice.org.uk ).    

Please note that the following material is not eligible for consideration:

(i)    Promotional material.

(ii)    Undocumented assertions of effectiveness.

(iii)   Opinion pieces.

(iv)   Forms with attachments of published material, or hard copy of published material.

For further information on the project, please visit our website.

We look forward to receiving information on this and thank you in advance for your help.

Instructions for Published material

Please send full reference details (which are to include author/s, title, date, journal or publication details including volume and issue number and page numbers) - not a PDF/WORD attachment or hard copy - using this form by 5pm on 5 August 2013 to – exercisereferral@nice.org.uk.

Instructions for Unpublished material

If you are aware of any trials/ongoing research relevant to our questions and focus populations which are in progress please could you help us to identify that information by providing relevant information such as a weblink to the project or other means of identifying the work as appropriate.   Please use this form to send in details of any relevant evidence by 5pm on 5 August to - exercisereferral@nice.org.uk.

Academic or commercial in-confidence material

If you wish to submit academic in confidence material (i.e. written but not yet published) or commercial in confidence material (i.e. internal documentation), please could you highlight which sections are confidential, for example by using the highlighter function in Word. Such content will not be made public. Please refer to section 4.4 of the Process guide for further information on submissions of confidential material. Please send any relevant evidence by 5pm on 5 August to NICE Public Health Team - exercisereferral@nice.org.uk.

This page was last updated: 12 July 2013