Under the partnership, patients will be referred by their GP, link worker or other health professional to Xcite advisors for lifestyle advice, activity programmes and nutritional guidance.
The aim is to use physical activity to compliment or to be used as an alternative to more traditional treatments. It will primarily be aimed at patients who have underlying conditions such as heart disease, unhealthy weight or coping with mental health issues.
It is also hoped that the programme will be developed to support those recovering from long-Covid.
It is claimed that the size and scale of the programme makes it one of the most progressive and innovative health partnerships between a Health and Social Care Partnership, and a sport and leisure provider in Scotland.
At its peak the programme aims to work with over 2,500 referrals per year. Patients will receive a one to one lifestyle consultation at an Xcite venue or video call and be provided with a 12 week programme of either group exercise, gym based or other activity. They will be re-assessed at 6 weeks and at 12 weeks and then encouraged to make a life-time commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
This will sit alongside other West Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership funded programmes delivered by Xcite including Ageing Well, healthy family lifestyle and rehabilitation sessions.
Tim Dent, Chief Executive, West Lothian Leisure said:
'Regular physical activity is proven to be effective at improving many health conditions and it is widely recognised that investing now in these programmes can improve population health and reduce health costs further downstream. Inactivity is one of the leading causes of premature death.
"Delivering health and wellbeing programmes to the wider population is at the heart of our charitable purpose, therefore, we are delighted to build on our relationship with NHS Lothian and the wider health and social care sector. This funding will enable us to scale up so that we can help improve the health of many more people in West Lothian and contribute to reducing health inequalities which have widened during the pandemic.'
Executive Councillor for Culture and Leisure, Andrew McGuire added:
"This is an exciting partnership which has the potential to benefit a large number of West Lothian residents. This programme combines GP advice with local services that are provided at many popular Xcite leisure facilities across West Lothian.
"It is fantastic to see local community partners working together to deliver this innovative programme which is one of the largest in Scotland."
Caption: Left to right: Leighann Bishop, Councillor Andrew McGuire, Operations Manager Ian McLean, Yvonne Lawton from the West Lothian HSCP and Robyn Donnie from West Lothian Leisure.