Doctors told to get on their bike in new social enterprise scheme.

Doctors at Andover Heath Centre will be using pedal power to help patients who can’t make it to the surgery.

The Andover practice, in Charlton Road, has purchased a reconditioned postal bike for the doctors to use when making patient house calls across the town, saving on fuel costs and playing a part in protecting the environment.

GPs on a Bike’ is an exciting social enterprise scheme set up by the Royal College of General Practitioners Wessex Faculty.

It is hoped the sight of doctors riding around town will promote the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle as well as increasing visibility of GPs and their work within the local community.

The navy blue bike is personalised, signposting it belongs to a ‘GP on Call’, so the public is aware of the important public service being provided and sending out an important message about the health benefits of keeping active.

Dr Richard Crane, the GP responsible for acquiring the bike commented: “It is great to be able to get out and about without using a car.

Not only is the bike reducing the carbon footprint of the practice, it is an opportunity to get some exercise during the long working day and to support some great social initiatives at the same time.”

For every bike bought, another is sent to Malawi, where The African Workshop employs eight local people to repair and service the donated bikes from Britain. Image: wessexfaculty.co.uk

The bikes are old postal bikes which have been saved from landfill, recycled and rebuilt by offenders in HM Prisons across the UK.

Offenders are given the chance to obtain a certificate of bike maintenance, boosting their skills, confidence and likelihood of gaining employment, which is a key step to preventing repeat offences.

As this is a social enterprise, in addition to helping save the environment and boosting employment opportunities, when GPs buy a bike, they also give a bike.

For every bike bought, another is sent to Malawi, where The African Workshop employs eight local people to repair and service the donated bikes from Britain.

The bikes are then sold to Malawians who can travel to work, transport goods to market and travel miles to school or college. Bikes in Malawi can be life transforming and often mean an income for life.

As well as helping patients it is hoped the scheme will improve face-to-face relationships with people around the town.

For more information on the ‘GP on a Bike’ scheme and how it helps others visit: wessexfaculty.co.uk/bike-scheme

The above article first published on romseyadvertiser.co.uk in Nov, 2019.