Leeds GP and TV doctor Helen Lawal reflects on Get Set Leeds themes


According to Sport England, one in four people would be more active if a GP or nurse advised them to move more. But nearly three-quarters of GPs say they don’t raise the issue of physical activity with patients due to lack of time, confidence or knowledge.

Despite these barriers, many doctors are powerful advocates of physical activity – including Dr Helen Lawal, who invited the Get Set Leeds team to come and speak to patients at Shakespeare Medical Practice, Burmantofts, earlier in the autumn.

Dr Helen Lawal is a GP in Leeds, and is the Lifestyle lead for OneMedical Group, which manages several NHS practices in the city, including Shakespeare Medical Practice. She is also a TV doctor who co-presented several Channel 4 series, including How To Stay Well, Food Unwrapped and How to Lose Weight Well. Helen was also the in-house medical expert on BBC 2’s quiz series, Britain’s Best Junior Doctor.

With Helen’s support, the Get Set Leeds team spent a morning at the practice talking to patients about what gets in the way of being active for them, and what changes in the city would get them moving more.

We talked to people aged five to 85, from different ethnic backgrounds and speaking a range of languages, pregnant mums, families, carers, and people who had nipped out of work for their appointment.

Then we shared their views and reflections with Helen and together identified four key themes –

–         Family and work responsibilities getting in the way

–         Impact of health conditions

–         Not knowing where to find information

–         Lack of communication from GPs and health professionals

Helen analysed the themes and identified ways of overcoming each issue, including fitting physical activity into your everyday routine, building things up gradually, reminding yourself of the benefits, using the Get Set Leeds and  Active Leeds websites to find out about what’s going on, and GPs signing up to the Active Practice charter, which encourages staff to talk to patients about getting active.

Thanks so much to the patients for their time, and to Helen for hosting us and analysing the themes. Video credit: William Lankfer


Share This Article