Programme Management across 4 Acute Trusts to implement the Active Hospitals Approach

14th December 2022

Physiotherapist demonstrating balancing movement to patient.

The Challenge

The Active Hospital (AH) programme was launched as part of the national Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme (MHPP) in 2016. Its purpose was to embed the promotion of physical activity within the culture and practice of hospital trusts to create models of care that aimed to increase patient physical activity to ultimately improve patient experience, care and outcomes. The TU were commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) as the Leadership Provider for Active Hospitals in Phase Two of the programme to explore new models of delivery. We worked with the four pilot sites: Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Sheffield Children’s Hospital and OHID over a two-year period to develop the programme and implement an Active Hospital approach.

Our Approach

We provided extensive programme management, governance and oversight to ensure the successful delivery of the programme, including:

  • Leadership and complex stakeholder management across multiple delivery partners
  • Support to the 4 pilot sites to enable delivery of the Active Hospitals approach in a total of 18 clinical/staff wellbeing pathways
  • Delivery of robust governance and assurance through over 40 programme meetings with OHID and the pilot sites
  • Design and deliver capabilities within acute trusts to disseminate the learning and create sustainable change. This included establishing and leading a Community of Practice (CoP) of 24 Trusts, with over 50% showing evidence of embedding the Active Hospitals toolkit within their sites and across clinical pathways.
  • Establishment, development and promotion of the Active Hospitals FutureNHS platform to include resources, good practice and opportunity for discussion to ensure the sustainability of the Active Hospitals approach.
  • Production of an interactive map to understand where the Community of Practice sites and Active Hospitals work across the country to enable links with wider public health and NHSE initiatives.

The Transformation Unit has…

Arrows pointing in different directions.


Supported all 4 pilot sites to go live with Active Hospitals approaches in a total of 16 clinical/staff wellbeing pathways


Hands in different colours and sizes.

Delivered robust governance and assurance through over 40 programme meetings with OHID and the pilot sites


Central cog with people icons circulating it.

Facilitated 4 Masterclasses from Oxford University Hospital FT to share learning and resources from the first pilot in Phase One of AH


3 rows of people icons

Delivered a programme of extensive communication and engagement activity to promote and recruit Trusts to the Community of Practice


Light bulb surrounded by thought icons

Recruited 15 Trusts initially to the Community of Practice; the members now total 24 through further engagement and promotion. 5 quarterly forums were organised and facilitated.


Hands opening an ideas plan

Established, developed and promoted the FutureNHS platform to include resources, good practice and opportunity for discussion


Heart with monitor graph running horizontally through the centre

Developed relationships with multiple organisations and other partners across the system to promote sustainability


3 Map markers joined with a line to demonstrate different locations.

Produced an interactive map to understand where the Community of Practice sites, Active Partnerships and ICSs are - further development to be undertaken by OHID


ID card

Produced and disseminated 7 Newsletters to showcase the work of the pilot sites and promote the Active Hospitals programme


Magnifying glass and documents folder

Developed an options appraisal and implementation plan for the further development of the Toolkit


Person sitting at computer

Collated extensive documents from the pilot sites to create a Library of Useful Resources on FutureNHS


Outline of head with plant growing inside

Engaged 16 staff from Pilot sites to become Trust PACC trainers as part of a pilot initiative



Across the 4 pilot sites, per the programme evaluation completed by Ipsos Mori:

  • The programme has improved healthcare professionals’ awareness of the benefits of physical activity and how to broach it with patients, and their confidence to do so.
  • In excess of 560 members of staff across the 4 pilot sites have received formal training on physical activity promotion
  • Over 7,300 patients have been spoken to about physical activity, and over 5,700 conversations about physical activity with patients have been recorded (not necessarily with individual Patients).
  • Evidence to suggests that conversations about physical activity are now happening more routinely with patients, and that these conversations are better quality and more productive.
  • I-CAN boards (detailing patient mobility range) are being used in the Active Wards
  • The Active Hospitals programme is live on the internal staff intranet across the pilot sites and through wider Trust communications.

Evidence of the impact of this work can be seen in this patient story.

The Outcome

  • We successfully delivered Phase 2 of the programme across all 4 pilot sites.
  • Physical activity has been successfully embedded into 18 clinical and staff wellbeing pathways, with the infrastructure to enhance this further.
  • A FuturesNHS platform is in place with extensive documents from the pilot sites to create a Library of Useful Resources. This includes Active Hospitals implementation tools, good practice, patient stories and a discussion forum to encourage collaboration.
  • A Community of Practice has been established with membership from 24 Acute Trusts and robust plans for further expansion and implementation of the Active Hospitals approach.
  • A sustainability plan was developed for the programme, which continues to be implemented across the country.

Read our final report in our publications section.

Read about balloon tennis and seated cycling getting patients moving on North Tyneside hospital ward

“In terms of our working relationship with the TU, we felt that we developed a very positive relationship with the team. They produced all the deliverables they were contracted to, but also went beyond this by producing additional material or insight that they identified would be valuable to the project. They were always quick to respond to ad hoc requests and queries from both our team and the hospitals sites.  It has been a pleasure working with the TU team and we would not hesitate to recommend them to other organisations.”

Programme Manager, OHID