Anger over cost of gym medical

Getting fit could be a costly exercise according to one pensioner who recently tried to improve his lifestyle.

Raymond Rendall, 67, of The Glade, Thetford, joined Breckland Leisure Centre in the town after a previous heart attack, two strokes and diabetes forced him to think about getting fit.

He was told by the gym, however, that because of his medical history his GP must complete and sign a form stating what he was capable of.

On approaching the School Lane Surgery, also in Thetford, he was told that the requirement meant he would need to undergo a medical assessment which was categorised as private treatment and would cost �110.

According to the surgery, if a patient approached asking for advice on healthy living or exercise, this would fall into NHS-funded treatment.

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Mr Rendall said: 'I just couldn't believe it, what with all this talk about healthy living. Now I can't go to the gym.

'I think it's absolutely disgusting.'

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Practice manager at the School Lane Surgery, Robert Howse-Ward, said he was happy to speak to Mr Rendall and enter into a discussion with Breckland Leisure Centre.

He added: 'The government is very clear what it wants doctors to do and not to do with taxpayers' money. In this particular case the doctors got together and said they were being asked to undertake something which is outside the medical remit.

'What we're also concerned about is the gym suddenly asking doctors to sign a form to say we've undertaken a medical review and signed something to say they regard the person to be fit and proper to go to the gym. We've never come across a gym before saying they want a doctor to sign a document to say someone can go to the gym.

'If a patient makes a routine appointment to see a doctor and ask to see someone about their health that's NHS work. The issue is with a document which is passed to us and asks for information to be filled in and information to be given. It is not NHS work.'

Manager of Breckland Leisure Centre, Richard Savoury said the form was something enforced by many in the leisure industry and added: 'Our gym instructors aren't in a position to be aware of all medical conditions.

'If something comes up involving a medical condition or medication it has to be referred back to a GP or medical practitioner to say they're safe to exercise, what they're capable of and what their limits are.'

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