PUBLIC Health in Barnsley is hoping to plug the gap left when an exercise referral scheme was scrapped in April last year.

The shelved scheme saw patients with serious health problems referred by a GP to improve or maintain a person's health or fitness.

It was used by more than 6,300 people over four years but NHS Barnsley stopped the funding, worth £144,000 a year, last March.

Steve Turnbull, the assistant director of Public Health, said a new scheme has been developed.

The £89,587 funding for it has been agreed, initially for one year, by NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, which is subject to a review with further funding being available in future.

Mr Turnbull said: "It's not a direct replacement for the exercise referral scheme but it works in a similar way and GPs can refer people.

"It will decide what is the best care for an individual based on their needs."