Top accolade for Midlothian exercise scheme

A scheme aimed at improving the mental and physical health of people in Midlothian has been awarded a top national accolade.

Midlothian Active Choices (MAC), a joint pilot between NHS Lothian and Midlothian Council, picked up the outstanding achievement in Sports, Leisure and Culture at the recent APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) awards.

The scheme, which was launched in October 2009, aims to involve people in physical activity as a means to reducing illness. To date over 300 individuals with mental health and obesity issues have benefitted from this initiative.

Morag Barrow, Allied Health Professional Manager, East and Midlothian CHP said:

“It’s a real honour to pick up this award and a testament to the achievements we’ve reached throughout this first year.
“Mental health and obesity issues can often lead to additional complications such as diabetes and heart disease, the rates of which in Midlothian are statistically significantly higher than the national average.
“This scheme, therefore, has played a major role in helping change that trend.”

Patients referred to the MACS scheme receive an initial appointment with a coordinator. They are given lifestyle coaching and advice on a wide range of accessible physical activity opportunities available in their area, including gym and circuit work, fitness classes, walking, aqua aerobics/therapy and seated exercise groups.

“The feedback we’ve had from everyone who’s been involved in the scheme so far has been extremely positive,” Morag added.

Councillor Wilma Chalmers, Midlothian Council elected member with responsibility for sport and leisure, said: “Winning an APSE outstanding achievement award reflects the considerable success of the Midlothian Active Choices pilot. This prestigious award demonstrates the excellent results we can achieve through close partnership working.”

Gerry Power, General Manager, Midlothian CHP added:

 “This is a great achievement for the MAC team and demonstrates the hard work and effort they’ve put in to making the project such a success.” 
12/11/2010