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Highland Life / News / NHS Highland / New profiles for health in Highland communities

New profiles for health in Highland communities

Issued: 24 Jun 2008

  • Longer, healthier lives
  • Aging population, alcohol and road accidents highlighted

NHS Highland today welcomed the publication of profiles outlining key indicators to the state of public health in each of its four Community Health Partnerships.

Director of Public Health Dr. Eric Baijal said: “The figures included in the profiles published today by the Scottish Public Health Observatory show that people living in NHS Highland’s area enjoy more years in good health and longer lives than the Scottish average. However the figures also highlight the challenges including the health impact of alcohol, a high level of road traffic accidents and the challenges of caring for an aging population. I welcome the publication of these profiles which are a valuable resource.”

Alcohol

Three out of four of the CHPs (all except Argyll and Bute) has a worse rate of patients hospitalised due to alcohol related and attributable conditions than the Scottish figure which is itself considered to be high in comparison with other countries. In all there were 442 deaths attributable to alcohol in the five years up to 2006. In the three years up to 2006 the hospitalisation of 10,468 people was alcohol related and attributable.

Dr Baijal said: “These figures underscore the need for Scotland to change its relationship with alcohol. Last week’s launch of a consultation on strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and change our cultural attitudes to it is extremely welcome. Despite ample evidence of the negative impact of drink on our health, our families and our society we have begun to accept high levels of alcohol consumption as normal and I believe it will take bold steps to change this pattern.”

Longer lives

People living in all four of our Community Health Partnerships enjoy life expectancy which is slightly better or significantly better than the average for Scotland. As a result of younger people leaving the area and older people choosing to move to the Highlands the area has a growing elderly population.

Dr Baijal said: “It is of course to be welcomed that many more people in Highland are living longer lives and reporting themselves to be in good health for longer. However our health care needs are greater as we get older and we can be at risk from accidental injury and unplanned admission to hospital. We are working with our partners in local government to provide more support so people can live safe, independent lives in their own homes. This can include intermediary care from nurses and social care workers as well as technological solutions like automated lighting which makes a home safer or sensors which can detect when someone has fallen and summon help.”

Road traffic accidents and “access deprivation”

All four of the Highland Community Health Partnerships had rates for road traffic accident casualties higher than the Scottish average with a total of 1128 people injured in the three years to 2006. All the CHPs are rural or partly rural and many residents live within the top 15% of access deprived areas in Scotland.

Dr Baijal said: “We value the work our partners, particularly Northern Constabulary, The Highland Council and Argyll and Bute council are doing to tackle this issue. Highland residents drive more than most in Scotland. It’s imperative that we concentrate while driving.”

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme