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GP referral

What is the physical activity referral programme?

Physical activity referral is an exercise programme called Active Health that your GP or healthcare professional can refer you to. An Active Health membership is for 12 months from your initial consultation and a GP Referral qualified exercise professional will devise a programme that is suitable for you to help you become more active. You will receive a one-to-one consultation initially, followed by regular email or telephone contact and reviews at both 6 and 12 weeks. We will work with you to set goals and monitor progress to help you get the best from your chosen activity. Throughout the programme, activities within our leisure centres will be charged at a concessionary rate. After your 12 week review we will encourage you to exercise independently but you will still benefit from the concessionary pricing structure for the full 12 months.

As part of the programme you may take part in a range of activities either at a leisure centre, in the local community, or in an outdoor setting. This could include activities such as gym sessions, swimming, walking groups, or specialist exercise groups and classes. Please see our programme leaflets in the useful information section for more details regarding specific classes offered under the Active Health GP referral scheme.

What are the benefits?

A physical activity referral will benefit you if you currently undertake no or very little physical activity.

  • weight loss or shape change
  • improved overall health and wellbeing
  • improved sleep and reduced stress
  • improved mood
  • improved mobility and ability to enjoy life more
  • increased fitness and energy levels
  • reduced blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels
  • improved confidence
  • reduction in visits to GP
  • reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • enable people to manage their diabetes more effectively
  • prevent osteoporosis and arthritis
  • manage or reduce risk of coronary artery disease  or peripheral vascular disease
  • improve strength, flexibility and balance
  • manage depression and anxiety
  • improve and manage mild to moderate respiratory problems, such as asthma 

What's on offer?

  • Is an exercise and education programme for people recovering from heart attacks, heart surgery and cardiac interventions
  • Classes are led by highly qualified and knowledgeable cardiac rehabilitation instructors
  • The classes can increase fitness levels, reduce cardiac symptoms, improve health and reduce the risk of future heart problems
  • Please note you will need to be referred to this class. There is a specific Phase IV Cardiac Rehab referral form that your GP or Phase III Cardiac Team must complete prior to you attending the class (the BACPR Cardiac Rehab referral form)
  • Once you have been given the completed referral form please contact the class instructor in your local area
  • This programme can support and motivate people to make positive lifestyle changes and achieve a long term physical activity habit. Please see our Cardiac Phase IV leaflet in the Useful Information section for more details regarding class times.

  • Group based stroke rehabilitation classes take an active approach to improving your movement and independence
  • The classes are taken by instructors who have specialist knowledge, to give stroke survivors the opportunity to exercise in a safe and enjoyable environment
  • The activities can be adapted to suit your specific needs 
  • The first session will be an introductory session where your instructor will assess your suitability to attend the exercise after stroke programme
  • Please note you will need to be referred by your GP, physiotherapist or health professional to attend these classes

    For further information please visit our Exercise after Stroke Leaflet available in the Useful information section.

  • Designed to help older, frailer people who have had a fall, are afraid of falling or feel that their balance is deteriorating
  • The classes are a mixture of chair-based and standing exercises to improve strength, balance and increase confidence
  • This class will safely and effectively improve your physical function, mobility and postural stability to reduce the risk of a fall
  • If you wish to join one of the Falls Prevention classes, there is a Falls Prevention Self-Referral form to complete or you can be referred by your GP or Health Care Professional

For further information on any of the classes please contact email sally.phillips@wiltshire.gov.uk or call 07799074312.

To find out further information about our Falls Prevention Classes, or to review class times and locations please go to the useful information area on this page and click on the Falls Prevention Leaflet.


A low level circuit training class designed to get people active again in a fun social group setting. Exercises can be adapted for the individual, and we have people attending this class for a wide range of health conditions including:

  • Back pain (including patients referred from the Activate your Back physiotherapy programme)
  • Musculoskeletal conditions including
  • Hip and knee replacements
  • Respiratory disease (including patients referred from the PACE pulmonary rehabilitation programme)
  • Mild depression
  • Anxiety or stress
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Recovery from cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Arthritis
  • Hypertension
  • Angina
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • TIA/ mini stroke and much more

Please see our Active Health Programme leaflet under the useful information tab for further information and class times and locations.

  • A gentle exercise class in the swimming pool, encouraging a low impact form of exercise, using the water as resistance. Like the circuit class, it is accessible to referred participants with a variety of health conditions.
  • Please refer to our Active Health Programme information leaflet in the useful information section for further details regarding the Aqua classes including class times and locations. 

  • A regular time in the gym, not exclusive to Active Health participants, that allows Active Health participants to be monitored during their gym visit.  An Active Health instructor will be on duty during this allocated time to offer assistance and support. Please note that this is not one-to-one support.
  • For Further information on this physical activity and to find out times and location please visit our Active Health Programme leaflet under the Useful Information section 

Case study - Bernadette

Case study - Marlborough Leisure Centre

Bernadette is profoundly deaf and has been all her life.

Bernadette's disability has not stopped her from living a full life but recently she had become more sedentary and isolated and she was nervous about how to become more active.

She was referred to the Active Health programme by her GP and met with an Active Health instructor, with a British Sign Language signer, allowing for conversation between Bernadette and the Instructor in regard to what the Active Health programme could offer. The Active Health programme offers circuit classes for those that enjoy group exercise and Bernadette signed up to attend one class per week.

She has enjoyed meeting new people and, after only 12 weeks, has toned up and started to lose weight. Bernadette's confidence has improved and she feels happy to come to the leisure centre on her own as she knows she will receive a warm welcome.

Bernadette's husband is also deaf and has now decided that he would like to start swimming when Bernadette attends her class which will give them a shared interest and help to improve their well-being together.

Further information

Still have a question? For further guidance you can either check the frequently asked questions below, contact the local Hub Co-ordinator (details below) or email: physicalactivity@wiltshire.gov.uk

Can my partner accompany me on these sessions for support?

Yes, they can accompany you to the venue but will not be able to take part in the session.

Is it going to hurt?

Sometimes, if you haven’t been very active for a while you may experience a little stiffness but this is normal.

Will I get hot and sweaty?

You may get a little warm but we encourage you to take a small towel and some water with you to drink while taking part in your activity.

Am I too old?

No one is too old to start exercising with the right advice.  We are able to adapt and tailor the exercises that you will be given.

Will I be pushed hard?

Programmes are individually tailored to your needs.

Do I need to be able to attend every week?

Ideally yes but we realise that sometimes holidays, hospital appointments may occur at these times and that this may affect your attendance.

Do I need to wear special clothing?

No, but we recommend that you wear comfortable clothes and appropriate footwear.

What happens when I finish the Active Health programme at the end of 12 months?

In most instances, you will be able to continue with the activity that you have been doing during the programme with one of the alternative classes on offer at your local leisure centre. Once the programme has finished the cost may increase but this will be explained at your re-assessment.

Can I be re-referred onto the Active Health Programme?

Generally, we do not accept re-referrals to the scheme unless you have had a change or deterioration in your medical condition and upon the advice and completion of a new referral form by a health professional.

How do I know that I am getting the best and most appropriate advice?

All Active Health referral staff are qualified in instructing and working with clients with a variety of medical conditions. These staff attend regular workshops and courses to update their knowledge and skills.


Contact details

Active Health is managed by our four local area Hub Co-ordinators:

West Wiltshire: Rich Latham 07941 591741 or richardlatham@pfpleisure.org

North Wiltshire: Kate Murphy 07532 264460 or katemurphy@pfpleisure.org

Central Wiltshire: Sally Phillips 07799 074312 or sally.phillips@wiltshire.gov.uk

South Wiltshire: Paul Needham 07823 536256 or paul.needham@wiltshire.gov.uk 

Share this page

I have noticed my joints are more mobile. The class has motivated me to do more exercise and try to delay or avoid surgery

Active Health Client

I am a much fitter and happier person. The staff are amazing and understand my needs.

Active Health Client
Last updated: 20 May 2020 | Last reviewed: 20 May 2020