The National Exercise Referral Scheme is a Welsh Government funded scheme which is centrally managed by Welsh Local Government Association working in partnership with Public Health Wales (PHW) and has been in operation since July 2007.
The Scheme operates in all 22 Local Authority areas of Wales to standardise exercise referral opportunities across all Local Authorities and Local Health Boards. The Scheme is an evidenced based health intervention that incorporates physical activity and behavioural change, it supports clients to make and maintain healthier lifestyle choices which will improve their health and wellbeing.
The aim of the Scheme is to reduce the inequalities in ill health by providing access to tailored and supervised physical activity. The target population is aged 16+ who are not used to being regularly physically active and are at risk of or currently experiencing a long term or chronic health condition. The Scheme is designed to provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I access the service?
You will need to get referred by a Health Professional (usually your GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist) who will have access to the NERS referral dispensing website. See patient’s leaflet / poster below for more information:
- National Exercise Referral Scheme Leaflet - Open link here
- National Exercise Referral Scheme Poster - Open link here
- Information for Health Professionals - Open link here
Am I eligible to access NERS?
The Scheme targets people aged 16 and over with, or at risk of developing, a chronic condition. There are set entry criteria and your health professional will need to check you meet these.
What will it cost?
Cost has recently risen to help maintain the service and it currently costs £2.00 per session; these charges are agreed locally on an annual basis.
How long does the scheme last?
The scheme lasts from 4-32 weeks dependant on referral reason; each session will last approximately 1 hour and activity will vary from an indoor activity; gym, circuits or an outdoor activity. You are required to attend regular sessions and attend follow up consultations at 16 and 52 weeks. Local provision or referral waiting times is variable dependant on availability of qualified staff. Please contact local coordinator if you have any queries.
What are the benefits of physical activity?
The physical benefits include:
- The heart and lungs become stronger and more efficient
- Muscular strength increases
- Joints become stronger
- The onset of osteoporosis can be delayed
- Body fat and excess weight may be reduced
- Relaxation and sleep might be improved
- Being better able to carry out the activities of daily living
- Feeling more alert and energetic
- Maintaining good posture
- Helping to normalise blood pressure
- Reduce risk of developing diabetes
- A reduced risk of blood clotting
- Helping to maintain independence, rather than becoming dependant
The psychological benefits include: (Some comments people have made)
- “I feel less anxious and stressed”
- “My confidence and self-esteem are better”
- “Being more active helped me to to give up smoking”
- “The activity sessions gave me time for myself”
- “My wife says I look a lot happier”
- “I took more responsibility for my own health”
The social benefits include: (Some comments people have made)
- “It was a good opportunity to meet other people who had the same worries as I did”
- “The sessions made me get out of the house and gave me a new interest”
- “I made new friends and enjoyed the conversations we had”
- “I feel much fitter and can play with my grandchildren for longer now”
If you require further information about any aspects of the Scheme in your area please contact your local co-ordinator or the National Exercise Referral Scheme Manager for Wales Jeannie Wyatt-Williams or the National Exercise Referral Scheme Support Officer for Wales Elaine Scale