Doctor has 2020 vision for health

What will health services in the Borders look like in 2020?

That’s what Dr Eric Baijal, joint director of public health for NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council, has been looking at in their third annual review.

Early intervention plays a big role in health services these days and Dr Baijal is looking at how it could impact on people’s health, the community, local economy, infrastructure and future public services.

Dr Baijal said: “My role is to promote health within our communities and work to protect the population from factors affecting their health, whether this threat is from disease, environmental factors or lifestyle choices.

‘Fact or Fantasy? Your Health 2020?’ describes the health of the Borders people and predicts issues we face in the coming years.

“The statistics show life expectancy in the Borders is good. However, smoking, drinking above recommended levels and obesity are all affecting our population and the economic situation will increase unemployment and poverty which we know also impacts on people’s health.

“I want your views as to whether the report captures accurately what health in the Borders is like at present and also what you think needs to be done to improve health in the next few years; and if these things are done what specific improvements you would expect to see in your health and that of others.”

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, depute leader of Scottish Borders Council (with responsibility for health service), said: “Improving people’s health is a key challenge for the council and NHS, together with communities and our many partners in the voluntary and third sectors. There are very positive results within the director’s report, with examples of good practice, but there is a challenge to reduce health inequalities and ensure early intervention approaches are targeted at those most at risk of poor health.”