Sheffield’s healthy legacy from the 2012 Olympics | Letters

I was disappointed to read your article on the apparent failure to develop a meaningful health legacy from London 2012 (London 2012, 10 years on: wrestling with a sporting legacy built on false assumptions, 22 July). I have recently been involved in compiling a short book with Richard Caborn, the minister of sport from 2001 to 2007, whose inspirational leadership was crucial in taking forward the outstanding concept, delivery and now the legacy of these Games.

Critics should look outside London and consider other parts of the country, such as Sheffield, to see how we have tried to fully embrace the opportunities generated by the 2012 Games and opened our own Olympic legacy park in one of the more deprived parts of the city. We have drawn together all the key partners across Sheffield to work together to make ourselves the most active and healthy city in England. It is important to stress that it is not only the NHS that has a key role in maintaining the health of our population, but many of these other agencies.

This highly innovative project is building on the designation of the city as one of the three centres delivering the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, one of the 2012 Olympics’ legacy projects. This has the potential to have profound benefits for health, employment and education, as part of a 20-year vision and strategy.

Examples include a city-wide initiative called “Move More” and the relocation of NHS outpatient clinics for patients with long-term chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiac disease, out of the hospital and into newly designed leisure centres, where many thousands of patients are now able to be prescribed medicines and undertake physical activity to improve the quality of their lives.
David Whitney
Former director, National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine

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