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04 Nov 2019

Report: Swimming saving NHS £357m a year
BY Tom Walker

The report outlines how £51m is saved as a result of reduced GP and psychotherapy visits by those who swim regularly

The report outlines how £51m is saved as a result of reduced GP and psychotherapy visits by those who swim regularly

Swim England has called on the government and healthcare professionals to "maximise the benefits" of swimming, after a report suggests that the activity saves the NHS more than £357m a year.

According to the Value of Swimming report – published by Swim England – water-based activities are already creating health savings of around £140m in dementia care and more than £100m in caring for stroke patients.

Other key savings are made in the areas of diabetes (£37m), colon cancer (£10.4m), breast cancer (£9.8m) and depression (£9.5m).

The report also outlines how £51m is saved as a result of reduced GP and psychotherapy visits by those who swim regularly.

Swim England describes the report as the "most comprehensive report of its kind ever carried out by a sporting national governing body".

It is based on research on data collected on regular swimmers at more than 1,000 pools in England over the past 12 months. The data was then applied to academic research undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University using the Social Value Calculator tool to calculate the cost savings to the health and social care system.

Swim England has now made a number of recommendations based on the report's findings, in order to help swimming deliver "even greater health, wellbeing and social benefits for people and communities across England".

These include more social prescribing of swimming by health professionals, direct investment and support to develop more swimming pools and a call for pool operators, local authorities and trusts to improve the social impact of local facilities through the Water Wellbeing Programme.

“This report proves what those involved with swimming have known for a long time – that it truly has the power to help people live longer, better, happier lives," said Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England.

“For the first time, it has highlighted how swimming saves our health and social care system hundreds of millions of pounds a year and the vital role it plays in tackling some of our biggest health conditions.

“However, we will only be able to maximise the benefits swimming can offer the nation by working in partnership with government, healthcare professionals and the wider swimming sector and we look forward to working together with them to deliver on the recommendations in the report.”

To download and read the full copy of the report, click here.

• To read an interview with Jane Nickerson, in which she outlines the future plans for Swim England, click here for Issue 2 of Sports Management magazine.



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