Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is working in partnership with the bike share scheme, nextbike, to offer patients a unique code that will give them six months of unlimited bike access on prescription.
The first initiative of its kind in the UK, local GPs from Lansdowne Surgery and Fairwater Health Center will be able to prescribe free rides to those who they believe will benefit from regular cycling, particularly people at risk of heart disease.
Dr Tom Porter, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales, said he was very excited about the pilot’s potential to improve health outcomes.
He said: “I’m really proud to be involved in this groundbreaking pilot. Cycling is a fantastic form of physical activity and riding your bike is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of ill health while building your cardiovascular fitness. It’s also great for improving mental well-being too.
“For the first phase of the pilot we want to make sure the scheme works as intended, and is easy to use for patients and their health professionals, so we’ll be seeking feedback from participants. If the approach proves successful we’ll look at making it more widely available across the City.
“Not only can cycling to work reduce your risk of death from heart disease by 52 per cent, but it’s also a great way to get around the city without using your car, making it good for both you and the environment around you, and helping to keep the air clean for everyone while reducing carbon emissions.”
Dr Karen Pardy, a GP who will soon be able to prescribe nextbike to her patients, said, “nextbike on Prescription provides GPs and their teams with a valuable opportunity to help encourage patients to become more active. Whilst we are aware of the many benefits of exercise for our patients, people are sometimes reluctant to engage. nextbike on prescription allows people to have a go at cycling around Cardiff and realise how this can help to support their overall wellbeing.”
Cardiff Councillor and Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, Susan Elsmore, said, “[Cardiff and Vale] health board has shown both collaborative working and initiative to begin to offer this amazing scheme to people for free on prescription. This fundamentally fits both with the central tenets of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and the Social Services and Wellbeing Act, and is another example of how Cardiff’s ambition leads the way, not only in Wales but for the UK.”
The pilot will run for a number of months while we seek feedback from participants. If you’re trialing nextbike on prescription and want to share your experience, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.