Active Conversations in Health & Social Care

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We know that health and social care professionals come into contact with large proportions of the population and frequently interact with people with long term conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as hypertension. Besides the extensive population reach of health and social care professionals, they are widely respected and trusted, meaning they have considerable potential to influence public and individual opinion and behaviour.  

We also know that being physically active can play a major role in the treatment and prevention of many long term conditions, yet people with a long term condition are almost twice as likely to be inactive as those without.  

That's why as part of our work to tackle and address physical inactivity we've prioritised working with health and social care partners to support them make the promotion of physical activity a routine part of their practice. 

Moving Medicine

We've recently recruited 62 health and social care professionals from pathways and services including; Adult social care, Cancer pathway, Ageing well service, to undertake Moving Medicine active conversations training. The 12-week online training course has been specifically designed to give frontline health and care professionals the skills and confidence to have good conversations about moving and being active.  

We spoke to Helen McLaughlin, Operations Manager for the Adult Social Care Personalised Long-term Support Team, about how physical activity is supporting her team, and service, and why this training is important to them.   

"Our whole team, 47 people, are taking part in the Moving Medicine active conversations training. This is in recognition of the positive impact physical activity and being active can have on ourselves as individuals in the first instance, but also the people we serve.  

The team is fully engaged and enjoying the training, we have new energetic vibes amongst ourselves, with theories of change, motivational interviewing skills, decisional balancing, rolling with resistance and reframing questions being openly discussed in our pod office days and chats. The training is enjoyable and relevant, it is creating a positive culture shift, which in turn will create a positive change for all.

In our recent Pod (team) development sessions, we’ve integrated physical activity into the sessions and had a mixture of dancing, chair aerobic and gentle pilates, giving teams the opportunity to experience being active; whilst taking part in these activities the atmosphere in the room and between ourselves has vastly improved and the air filled with laughter and humour. We want the people we serve to be able to feel and experience these same feelings. 

As a service, our aim is to be able to support the people we serve in achieving their best-desired outcome - to live a fulfilled life. We recognise the role being active can play in achieving our aim, however, we’ve also recognised we don’t always encourage moving more and being active in our planning. We’re working to address this in a positive way by reframing our questions and conversations. We want to enhance the recognition and importance of moving more and being active, by building our skills and strategies to have better conversations about moving more with the people we serve.  

Our achievement would be to enable the people we serve to move more in support of having a fulfilled life, with increased self-efficacy, where they are achieving their desired outcomes, and improving their social and community engagement. The training the team are taking part in will help us with this."  

Helen McLaughlin

Evaluating Impact

As part of the process, Active Calderdale will be undertaking pre and post-evaluation of the training course, with further follow-ups at 3 and 6 months. This evaluation will hopefully help establish if and how the training has increased skills and confidence to have active conversations, and importantly if more conversations are being had and what effect they are having on supporting people to be physically active.  

If you are a Health & Social Care practitioner and would like further information on active conversation training, please visit the Moving Medicine website or contact Active Calderdale at