Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Public and environmental health, Sport and fitness sciences

Publication Details

Woods C., McCaffrey N., Furlong B., Fitzsimons-D’Arcy L., Murphy M., Harrison M., Glynn L., O’Riordan J., O’Neill B., Jennings S. and Peppard C. (2016) The National Exercise Referral Framework. Health and Wellbeing Division, Health Service Executive. Dublin. Ireland.


A 2013 Review of the HSE funded GP Exercise Referral Programme (GPERP) highlighted the need for a new National Exercise Referral Framework (NERF). The evidence suggests that exercise referral is an effective targeted health intervention for specific patients and with the increasing prevalence of chronic disease it is imperative that we examine, design and progress the implementation of scalable, sustainable evidence-based, interventions, integrated across the health system to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. The development of this proposed National Exercise Referral Framework, commissioned by Health Promotion and Improvement, was led by DCU involving a multi-disciplinary Working Group and supported by a HSE Cross-Divisional Group. We are grateful to the Working Group and in particular to Dr Catherine Woods and the team in DCU for their extensive work and commitment to this project. There are a number of practical steps now required to determine the feasibility of the proposed framework as a national model namely, identification of a sustainable funding model; design and development of chronic disease care pathways and a phased implementation plan that would build on the existing programmes. The Health & Wellbeing Division of the HSE will lead the next phase of this project.