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GPs to be given standing desks to promote healthier lifestyles

Pilot could highlight to patients the importance of reducing sitting time

GPs are to be given standing desks as part of a trial exploring how to improve the health of UK family doctors.

The study, led by Loughborough University, will investigate whether standing consultations could help improve the activity levels of GPs and if their use would be accepted by patients and doctors.

In the first phase of the study, around 500 GPs throughout the UK will be asked to complete a survey about their views on using standing desks during patient consultations.

For the second phase, the research team will recruit GPs from across the East and West Midlands, with each asked to wear an ActivPAL device. The device will be used to measure the time the GPs spend sitting and standing while using their usual work desk for consultations and then again using a standing desk.

For the final part of the study, the GPs will be invited to take part in interviews about their experiences of standing consultations.

Professor Amanda Daley from Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, who is leading the project, said that historically GPs and patients sit during consultations to facilitate good doctor-patient-rapport.

“But we also know that GPs spend a long time sitting down during the working day – which can contribute to poor health outcomes – and evidence suggests that doctors often neglect their own health,” she stated. “Therefore, we need to find ways of getting GPs on their feet and moving more often. Standing consultations could help GPs to be more active, as well as highlighting to patients the importance of reducing and breaking up their sitting time.”