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Looking forward to the Olympic legacy

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Olympic legacy Olympic legacy

It is unlikely to have passed anyone by that this month sees the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, which run from 27 July - 12 August, followed by the Paralympic Games from 29 August - 9 September.

From the moment London won the 2012 Games, back in 2007, there has been talk of making the momentum last. As prime minister David Cameron put it earlier this month: 'For me, that vision is about buildings, about people, about sport and about the economy, about legacy and inspiration for the future - and I want us to break records on every one.'

A legacy for public health is vital, including school sport. Ministers will pump £1 billion into youth sport, including a massive expansion of after-school clubs 'for children who don't think sport is for them'; the aim is to create 13,500 by 2015. For people of all ages, the DH has launched a Games for Life campaign, to encourage people get off the sofa and become more active. It is an unfortunate inconsistency, however, that the Games are being sponsored by fast food companies including McDonald's and Coca-Cola.

In concrete terms, the legacy for the NHS will be the £23 million Olympic Polyclinic, into which the NHS has put £17 million. This will revert to the NHS after the Games, though it may not contain all the state-of-art equipment, most of which was privately funded. The centre, to be staffed by 500 volunteers, including a team of 10 primary care nurses and 12 GPs, is tasked with providing vital care to athletes and officials; ensuring minimal pressure on local NHS services; and showcasing UK primary and urgent care services.

Having toured the polyclinic last month, I can attest to the fact that it boasts world-class facilities. This is simply the best place to fall ill during the summer. It goes to show what can be done with significant investment and a will to meet need and ensure health services are fit for purpose.

Sarah Wild, editor, Independent Nurse

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