Health in Scotland 2001
LETTER TO THE FIRST MINISTER
Report of the Chief Medical Officer on the state of Scotland's health for the year ended 31 December 2001.
To Jack McConnell MSP
The background theme to this annual report is "Working Together". This key theme applies to multidisciplinary teams of health professionals and cross sectoral work across the health service, local authorities and the Executive.
As in past reports this review of health in Scotland during the year 2001 details the double burden of disease facing our country at the start of the 21st century. One element of this challenge is the growing burden of chronic disease. The other is that of new and re-emerging infectious diseases.
Cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke together account for around 60% of all deaths in Scotland every year. They, together with diabetes, are increasingly amenable to both prevention through healthier lifestyle and earlier diagnosis and more successful management by the healthcare system. Patients increasingly look to the services of complex multidisciplinary teams as much as to the skill and commitment of individual clinicians. This report surveys the way in which Scotland's health professionals are working together through NHSScotland to provide the programmes and care packages to tackle these problems.
The real challenge however is to plan and provide for the future of Scotland's health, to get upstream of these potential problems by a concerted effort to promote positive health. This demands that the health service works together with partners in local authorities and across the Executive to tackle the underlying causes of poor health. These are well known and include poverty and social exclusion, tobacco, drugs, excessive use of alcohol, poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise. The year 2001 saw a welcome commitment to make a step change in Scotland's health status and this report sets out the background to this essential programme of investment in Scotland's future health and wellbeing. We now need a period of sustained, focused action involving individual Scots, their communities and their voluntary and public services working together on health and its determinants.
This report has been produced by and reflects the work of many colleagues in the Scottish Executive Health Department, in the NHS, in the Scottish Medical Schools, the Health Education Board for Scotland, the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health, the Public Health Institute for Scotland and this year includes contributions from the Directors of Public Health for Highland, Forth Valley and Grampian. They all work together daily for Scotland's health. My thanks are therefore due to all who have contributed to the preparation of this report and in particular to Dr Elizabeth Stewart and Miss Sandra Campbell, the co-editors and to Miss Sheena Cant, who so patiently and skilfully compiled the text and tables.
DR E M ARMSTRONG
Chief Medical Officer