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Swimming is helping to save the health and social care system more than £357 million a year, according to new research.
The cost of savings to the NHS are revealed in Swim England’s Value of Swimming report, which outlines how water-based activity is making a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of the nation.
Now Swim England is calling on the Government and healthcare professionals to ‘maximise the benefits’ swimming can offer to ‘help people live longer, better, happier lives’.
In the most comprehensive report of its kind ever carried out by a sporting national governing body, Swim England’s in-depth study shows the vital role swimming plays in preventing, and treating, physical and mental health conditions.
According to the analysis, the largest health savings are made up from dementia (£139,546,106) and strokes (£100,046,173).
Other key savings are made in diabetes (£37,446,191), colon cancer (£10,433,330), breast cancer (£9,830,341) and depression (£9,501,792).
The report also reveals how £51,048,348 is saved as a result of reduced GP and psychotherapy visits by those who swim regularly.
The research is based on data collected on regular swimmers at more than 1,000 pools in England over the past 12 months. The data was then applied to academic research undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University using the industry-recognised DataHub – Social Value Calculator tool to calculate the cost savings to the health and social care system.
Other key highlights published in the report include:
Swim England has made a number of recommendations in the report to help swimming deliver even greater health, wellbeing and social benefits for people and communities across England.
It is urging government to fully recognise the role and benefits of water-based exercise through direct funding to increase proven health-based water interventions.
Swim England is also calling for more social prescribing of swimming by health professionals to further reduce GP visits and increase cost savings in health and social care.
In addition, the report calls for direct investment and support to develop the next generation of pools and encourages pool operators, local authorities and trusts to work together with Swim England to offer its Water Wellbeing Programme and improve the social impact of local facilities.
“For the first time, it has highlighted how swimming saves our health and social care system hundreds of millions of pounds a year and the vital role it plays in tackling some of our biggest health conditions.
“However, we will only be able to maximise the benefits swimming can offer the nation by working in partnership with government, healthcare professionals and the wider swimming sector and we look forward to working together with them to deliver on the recommendations in the report.”