BLAENAU Gwent MP Nick Smith joined fellow Labour MPs, AMs, health professionals, patients and VIPs ( Very Important Parkrunners who have improved their health through running) at a parkrun event on the weekend aimed at encouraging GP surgeries to become ‘parkrun practices’.
Newport’s Riverfront parkrun welcomed Mr Smith on Saturday, June 22 for a ‘GP parkrun pledge’ event to promote GP surgeries ‘prescribing’ parkrun events as a way to get active.
Mr Smith – who runs at Tredegar’s Parc Bryn Bach parkrun on Saturday mornings – said the event was a great chance to spread the word about the benefits of parkrun and the concept of ‘social prescribing’, where health professionals refer patients to support in the community.
Mr Smith said: “In recent meetings I’ve had about improving the physical well-being of people in Blaenau Gwent the concept of ‘social prescribing’ has been coming up again and again.
“It is vital that strong links are forged between GP practices and local parkrun events so that staff feel able to encourage patients to attend.
“I know from personal experience how welcoming and enjoyable parkrun events are, and what benefit there is to be had from taking part, not just physically but socially and mentally too.”
Mr Smith added: “We need to tackle the health crisis which is taking hold in places like Blaenau Gwent head-on and – as well as continuing to campaign on issues such as banning junk food adverts – simply getting people up and active is a big part of it.
“Obesity is an issue that needs to be addressed now in order to prevent serious health issues – including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer – becoming an even bigger problem in the future.
“I know that Glan Rhyd surgery in Beaufort is an official parkrun friendly practice and I hope many more in Blaenau Gwent and across South Wales will follow suit.
“I want GPs and their staff to feel confident in signposting patients to parkrun events and make the most of these fantastic assets we have on our doorstep.”
Parkrun events are free to attend. To find out more visit https://www.parkrun.org.uk/