Hartlepool’s lack of exercise costing health services £1.7m a year

Members of the Hartlepool Coronary Heart group enjoying a weekly workout session in the Mill House Leisure Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
Members of the Hartlepool Coronary Heart group enjoying a weekly workout session in the Mill House Leisure Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
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People not taking enough exercise is costing the NHS in Hartlepool £1.7m a year, according to a shocking new report.

Health chiefs say people not getting enough exercise leads to long-term health problems that is leaving the town’s NHS with the huge care bill.

Figures from the British Heart Foundation show more than half of the cost is spent on patients with coronary heart disease.

The remainder of the cost includes other conditions, such as diabetes and strokes leading from physical inactivity.

Nationally, cost of NHS care due to a lack of physical inactivity exceeds £900m.

In Hartlepool, primary and secondary care costs of heart disease put down to not enough exercise is around £1m a year.

There are an around 4,400 people in Hartlepool living with coronary heart disease, says the British Heart Foundation.

Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at the heart charity, said: “It is staggering the amount of money that inactivity is costing health services in Hartlepool every year.

“Encouraging people to be more active and less sedentary will help reduce their risk of heart disease and will save millions of pounds for health services.”

Pat Usher, head of sport & recreation at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “An active lifestyle can significantly lower the risk of poor health and that is why the council has invested heavily in improving leisure facilities and specific programmes and initiatives across the town.

“The council has operated the Hartlepool Exercise for Life Programme for more than 15 years now and this offers supervised 10-week introductory group exercise courses. It is a town-wide service offering a varied weekly programme for individuals to obtain professional support to improve and better manage a wide range of chronic health conditions, including coronary heart disease.

“As a town, Hartlepool does face some big health challenges but we are confident that our physical activity projects and programmes can have a big impact on people’s lifestyles by encouraging them to become active on a regular basis.”

National guidelines recommend adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. Figures complied by Oxford University show that 44 per cent of adults in the UK do no moderate physical exercise.