Brighton GP helping people get back on their bikes
Trust: Woodingdean Medical Centre
Location: Brighton and Hove
Name and role: Dr Ralph Mortimer-Roome, GP
What did Ralph do?
Dr Ralph Mortimer-Roome is a GP at Woodingdean Medical Centre in Brighton, and chair of the Sussex Greener Practice Network. Early in 2023, he saw an opportunity to support his colleagues and patients to increase the number of journeys they take with active travel.
Initially, he conducted a survey for staff at the practice, to better understand how they travelled to and for work. While 50% of the staff lived within three miles of the practice, he discovered that 70% of journeys made by practice staff were by car or public transport.
Ralph saw an opportunity to support staff to make a change to more sustainable modes of transport. In March 2023, he set up three cycle repair workshops, run by local company Cranks CIC, were put on at sites in the East and Central Brighton Primary Care Network. Both staff and patients were invited to bring bikes in need of repair. They could also talk with Dr Mortimer-Roome about cycling related issues, including how it may help with conditions like osteoarthritis, peripheral arterial disease and weight loss.
Following the success of the cycle workshops, the practice want to use the findings of the survey and the outcomes of the workshops to help calculate the carbon footprint of the practice. It will also share the good practice across the PCN and encourage other local practices to host similar events in partnership with community cycle projects.
Why it matters?
Nationally, less than 5% of journeys are made by bike. There are number of barriers that may stop someone from making their short journey on a bike, such as not having access to a bike, a bike needing repair, or environmental factors like topography and bad weather. Dr Mortimer-Roome set out to open up the conversation around these barriers and get local people back on their bikes.
Why Ralph is a Zero Hero - the impact
A survey conducted after the workshops indicated that there had been an increase in practice staff cycling to work.
Over three sessions, a total of 30 bikes for staff and patients were repaired, enabling them to make more active travel choices. A similar number of people also stopped by to talk about cycling and related medical queries, and to pick up information on local cycle routes.
Feedback from staff and patients who had their bikes repaired was very positive, and the general response to the practice promoting active travel was supportive. One patient said that walking had become difficult as a consequence of an injury and having a well-maintained bike gave them freedom to get around, including to appointments.
Frequently asked questions
Active travel is a journey made with an active element to it, such as walking or cycling. Taking public transport can typically count too as there is usually a walk or cycle involved.