Everyone can play a part in improving region’s health

editorial image

The health of the Borders population and how it can be improved is under scrutiny and your views are wanted on how this can be done.

The third report by the joint director of public health for NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council, Dr Eric Baijal, reveals that smoking, drinking, obesity and poverty still need to be tackled.

Dr Eric 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.

“The statistics show that the life expectancy in the Borders is good. However, smoking, drinking above the recommended levels and obesity are all factors 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 both the council and the NHS, together with our communities and our many partners in the voluntary and third sector. There are some very positive results within the director’s report but there is a challenge ahead to reduce health inequalities and ensure that early intervention approaches are targeted towards those most at risk of poor health.

People in the Borders live longer than the Scottish average, but not necessarily in good health - more than half of adults drink more alcohol than recommended; survival from cancer is poorer than most of Europe; and the number of people with dementia is increasing.

NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council are working together on a number of initiatives, concentrating on five communities recognised as the most disadvantaged - Eyemouth being one of them.

In 2010, 13 per cent of children in the region were considered to be living in poverty and providing them and future generations with a better future is the goal.

The survey can be viewed at http://www.nhsborders.org.uk/news/fact-or-fantasy-is-the-challengefor-health-in-borders