The health, crime and work statistics that highlight region’s most hard-hit communities

Bannerfield.

Bannerfield.

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Around nine per cent of the Borders population – just over 10,000 people – live in five areas which Dr Eric Baijal, joint director of public health with Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders, describes as “the most disadvantaged communities in the region” in his annual report for 2010/11, highlighted on page one, writes Andrew Keddie.

Dr Baijal benchmarks trends and statistics in these areas against Lauder – “an affluent town ... with a good health profile” – which has a population of 1,275, of whom 222 (17 per cent) are children, 780 (61 per cent) are of working age and 273 (21 per cent) are pensioners.

BANNERFIELD, SELKIRK

The statistics

Population 932 of whom 213 (23 per cent) are children, 533 (57 per cent are of working age) and 186 (20 per cent) are pensioners.

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimants 7.8 per cent of working age population, Income Support (IS) claimants 8.4 per cent.

Neighbourhood crime (violence, domestic housebreaking, drugs offences, minor assault and vandalism) per 10,000 population – 445.

Council tax bands A and B – 78.5 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population – 2,094. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – 152. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – 10 per cent. MMR vaccination rate by 24 months – 92.9 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at six to eight weeks – 33.3 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – 38.9 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – 50 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – 90 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 7.7 per cent.

Dr Baijal’s assessment

The figures paint a picture of a community with poor life experience. The health of children must be affected by their mothers’ preconceptional health, with a large proportion of teenage pregnancies and almost one in two women smoking early in pregnancy.

Care of children seems sub-optimal, with lower immunisation and breastfeeding rates than in more affluent communities. A high number of people are dependent on benefits and the crime rate is high. The information suggests housing is poor and health experience certainly is.

The pattern of service use indicates drug and health problems.

The positives

The Selkirk Health Living Network (HLN) has undertaken a needs assessment in partnership with Scottish Borders Council’s community learning and development department, giving a good understanding of what people wanted in relation to health and learning.

This work had informed Philiphaugh Community School’s management committee’s three-year plan in which HLN had developed a health programme focusing on reducing poverty and health inequalities. There was an agreed opinion that there was a gap in provision for older people and the community worked to together to develop a low cost lunch club.

Food and health sessions had good take-up by parents, while pregnant and new mums had benefited from a course on nutritional advice.

BURNFOOT, HAWICK

The statistics

Population 2,689 of whom 710 (26 per cent) are children, 1,583 (59 per cent) are of working age and 396 (15 per cent) are pensioners.

JSA claimants 7.3 per cent, IS claimants 12.5 per cent.

Neighbourhood crime per 10,000 population – 676.

Council tax bands A and B – 99.6 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population – 6,361. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – 162. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – 10 per cent. MMR vaccination rate – 82.2 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at six to eight weeks – 18.8 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – 46.5 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – 47.5 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – 86 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 17.6 per cent.

Dr Baijal’s assessment

Burnfoot has high levels of unemployment which is seen as a real issue for the people of the community.

The current situation is a legacy of the demise of the mills. It is the poorest part of Hawick, with relatively high rates of social deprivation in several areas, especially around the central area, including Ruberslaw Road, Kenilworth Avenue and Galalaw Road.

It has more than its fair share of antisocial behaviour, with many incidents around the shops. The community is challenged by low birth weight and low breastfeeding rates, while rates of MMR uptake trail behind the Borders’ and national rates.

School attendance rates are poor, with more pupils without qualifications and, of those of working age, many are on benefits.

The positives

The Healthy Living Network (HLN) in Burnfoot is unique in that it has its own premises: a community flat from which other partner agencies, such as the police, smoking cessation and a group working with people with addictions can deliver services, such as drop-in lunches, aromatherapy and men’s cooking courses.

A group called Burnfoot Community Futures has worked hard to improve the local area and its facilities and, with community learning and development, the HLN has been helping the group submit a lottery bid to convert an unused building into a community hub with a café at its heart as well as a social space for the elderly.

It is now through to the second round of the lottery application process.

Health visitors attend weekly meetings at Burnfoot Primary to discuss areas of concern with pupils. They also carry out routine health surveillance checks and young people in Burnfoot are often refered to other agencies dealing with sexual health and addictions.

EYEMOUTH

The statistics

Population 3,134 of whom 531 (17 per cent) are children, 1,808 (58 per cent) are of working age and 795 (25 per cent) are pensioners.

JSA claimants 4 per cent, IS claimants 7.1 per cent.

Neighbourhood crime per 10,000 population – 731.

Council tax bands A and B – 73.1 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population – 4,673. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – 110. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – 11 per cent. MMR vaccination rate – 100 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at six to eight weeks – 26.7 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – 23.1 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – 31.1 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – 89.8 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 6.2 per cent.

Dr Baijal’s assessment

Although having a lower percentage of teenage pregnancies than Bannerfield, Burnfoot and Langlee, it is still 23 per cent ... and 31 per cent of mothers smoke at antenatal booking, markedly more than the 18 per cent in Lauder. Breastfeeding rates are disappointingly low.

While secondary school attendance is 90 per cent, the achievement of top qualifications in S4 is dramatically poorer in Eyemouth than in Lauder – 15 per cent compared with 60 per cent.

In terms of access to facilities, Eyemouth has markedly longer drive times to further and higher education establishments, almost 45 minutes and 90 minutes respectively.

The positives

The Healthy Living Network (HLN) in Eyemouth has, along with council and voluntary services, held a Towards a Healthier Berwickshire event to consider local poverty and health improvement projects. A follow-on event is being planned. The town’s healthy living group features in a DVD as one of four Scottish projects selected as a model of good practice, showcasing ongoing health improvement work in the community. This coming year the HLN hopes to recruit additional volunteers and work with Borders College’s horticultural department and a local nursery to offer work experience to local unemployed people. Langlee, Galashiels

The statistics

Population 2,651, of whom 519 (20 per cent) are children, 1,656 (62 per cent) are of working age and 476 (18 per cent) are pensioners.

JSA claimants 9.1 per cent, IS claimants 9.7 per cent.

Neighbourhood crime per 10,000 population – 881. Council tax bands A and B – 93.9 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population – 5,320. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – 191. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – 10 per cent. MMR vaccination rate – 88.4 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks – 22.9 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – 28.9 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – 39.6 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – 88.5 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 23.6 per cent.

Dr Baijal’s assessment

The figures depict a community with poor life experience, despite seemingly good access to facilities.

The health of children must be affected by their mothers’ preconceptional health, with a large proportion of teenage pregnancies and almost one in two women smoking early in pregnancy.

Care of children could be better with lower immunisation and breastfeeding rates than in more affluent communities. Educational outcomes are poorer.

A large number of people are dependent on benefits and the crime rate is high – more than seven times higher than in Lauder.

The ratios of emergency admissions to hospital and hospital episodes related to alcohol use in Langlee are the worst of the five areas. The ratio of hospital admissions related to drug use is even worse. The information suggests housing is poor and the health experience certainly is.

The positives

Despite the problems, an impressive agenda of work is being taken forward in the community to improve life experience and Langlee has the advantage that NHS staff are co-located with SBC community learning and development staff.

Adult literacy is being taken forward. The primary school is a very important focus of activity, with as many as 50 children attending the breakfast club. Teaching on food and nutrition begins from P1 upwards.

Other developments include the creation of a community garden, the allocation of land for allotments and plans for a community orchard. The Langlee summer activity programme provides parents and children with structured fun and activities during the holiday period.

WALKERBURN

The statistics

Population 620 of whom 88 (14 per cent) are children and 162 (26 per cent) are pensioners.

JSA claimants 6.9 per cent, IS claimants 3.4 per cent).

Neighbourhood crime per 10,000 population – 191. Council tax bands A and B – 82.2 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population - 1,774. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – 125. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – 8 per cent. MMR vaccination rate – 100 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks – 50 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – 10 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – 20.8 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – 88.1 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 18.2 per cent.

Dr Baijal’s assessment

The community has a tiny proportion of children and a very low birth rate. There were just 10 first-time mothers over a three- year period (2006-08), but Walkerburn has a much larger proportion of older people than the other five communities.

Indicators of child health – breastfeeding, immunisation uptake and educational achievement – are very similar to those of Lauder. There are few benefit claimants overall. However, the majority of domestic property is of low value.

Although not the most remote, the settlement is still challenged to an extent in terms of access to facilities. Crime is low, but hospital data suggests there is an alcohol problem.

The positives

The Health Living Network (HLN) in Walkerburn, established for eight years, has engaged over one third of the population in health improving activities.

Volunteers in the community are well placed to support this approach of delivering more preventative services.

The HLN has focused on early years and older people. It offers parents a weaning programme and had taken lead responsibility for innovative work with parents, including a one-stop shop.

New mums have learned to cook in the family centre. The school has regular health weeks and hosts a breakfast and lunch club, as well as back-to-basics cookery classes for families, and fitness sessions.

For older people there is a lunch club, carpet bowls and keep fit. An allotments project has gone from strength to strength.

DATA COMPARISONS

JSA claimants – Lauder, 1.1 per cent, IS claimants 1.8 per cent; Scottish Borders – JSA claimants 3.1 per cent, IS claimants 3.7 per cent); Scotland – 4.2 per cent, IS claimants 5.7 per cent.

Neighbourhood crime – Lauder 124, Scottish Borders 292, Scotland 494.

Council tax bands A and B - Lauder 34 per cent, Scottish Borders 53 per cent, Scotland 46.3 per cent.

Hospital admission rates for accidents per 100,000 population – Lauder 1,407, ScottishBorders 1,383, Scotland 1,416. Emergency admissions, compared to Scotland rate of 100 – Lauder 80, Scottish Borders 108. Prescription of drugs for anxiety, depression or psychosis – Lauder 6 per cent, Scottish Borders 8.6 per cent, Scotland 8.9 per cent. MMR vaccination rate – Lauder 100 per cent, Scottish Borders 92.3 per cent, Scotland 92 per cent.

Proportion of children breastfeeding at six to eight weeks – Lauder 61.3 per cent, Scottish Borders 46.2 per cent, Scotland 36.1 per cent. First time mothers aged 19 or under – Lauder 0 per cent, Scottish Borders 12.8 per cent, Scotland 13.7 per cent. Pregnant women smoking at first antenatal booking – Lauder 18.2 per cent, Scottish Borders 23.8 per cent, Scotland 19.6 per cent.

Secondary school attendance rate – Lauder 93.9 per cent, Scottish Borders 92.4 per cent, Scotland 91.2 per cent. Percentage of S4 pupils with no qualifications – 0 per cent, Scottish Borders 8.3 per cent, Scotland 7.5 per cent.