Public health chief gives first prognosis

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LIFE expectancy rates in the Borders are good, but smoking and drinking above the recommended levels, together with obesity, are having an impact, according to to the first annual report from the Scottish Borders director of public health.

The appointment of Dr Eric Baijal is a joint one for both NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council.

“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. Better Health in the Borders describes the health of the Borders people and predicts the issues and challenges we face in the coming years,” he said.

“Better Health in the Borders sets out the work we are doing to help reduce the risk factors and help people to improve their lifestyles. This ranges from screening programmes for diseases such as bowel cancer to the play-at-home scheme to promote physical activity in early childhood.”

A joint health protection plan has also been developed for the next three years which Dr Baijal says will help NHS Borders and SBC to work through their priorities and manage communicable disease and environmental health risks.