Citizens of Salford can use the BetterPoints smartphone app to track their walking and earn points that they can cash in for vouchers for high-street shops, or donate to charity.
Between now and April 2018, BetterPoints app users in Salford can accumulate points for walking up to 150 minutes a week and can spend them on little luxuries like coffee or clothes - or, better still, they can donate them to charities of their choice.
Salford Clinical Commissioning Group is running the scheme as part of its drive to improve health and tackle obesity in the city.
Salford is significantly below the national average for general health and childhood obesity. Health in the city is improving, but there are still large disparities between different areas that the CCG wants to overcome: ‘people living in less affluent parts of Salford have an average lifespan of ten years less than those living in the more affluent areas,’ says the Council’s Department of Public Health.
The scheme rewards participants for walking up to 150 minutes a week because this is the basic level of exercise that the NHS says adults should do to be healthy. It aims to get them to the point where they want to do more and take control of their personal health.
Dr Girish Patel, Clinical Lead for Innovation at Salford CCG, said:
‘Innovation is increasingly viewed as a key solution to many of the challenges facing health and social care. For some time now in Salford, we have recognised that, by embracing new and creative ideas, solutions that improve quality, patient experience and reduce healthcare costs are often to be found near to our door. Our encouragement of such creativity, via initiatives such as our Innovation Fund Locality Call, is testament to our striving to identify solutions that demonstrate a potential return on investment.’
Dan Gipple, CEO of BetterPoints Ltd, said:
‘Obesity alone costs the NHS more than £6billion a year and the wider economy a staggering £27billion, and contributes to myriad other health problems such as heart disease, cancer, asthma and depression. The health system is struggling. Much of this struggle could be alleviated if people just adapted their behaviour a little for the better: a little more walking and exercise; a little less alcohol; a little more healthy eating. This would make a big difference.’