Chip Jenga – Playing with Scotland’s Health

Every August I spend a couple of weeks at the Edinburgh Festival, taking in the best Arts festival in the world.  There’s not much to learn about healthcare amongst the 2,000 different productions, but it’s an interesting opportunity to look around the City to see how healthcare initiatives in Scotland are developing.

Scotland is an interesting country in terms of health, as it contains a number of anomalies.  At one end of the spectrum it boasts some of the best examples of Telecare and Assisted Living practice anywhere in the world.  In the middle are some excellent preventative initiatives.  And at the other end it has issues with lifestyle and diet that are propelling its population towards an increasingly unhealthy future

The issue of diet is a long-standing one that starts at an early age.  Whereas England is embracing chefs like Jamie Oliver who are leading high profile campaigns to improve the quality of school meals, Scotland largely ignores them.  If you’re in Scotland at lunch time, you’ll see queues of school kids outside the local chippies and bakers downing their daily intake of carbohydrates as they start on the route to weight related health problems.  For most, lunchtime means a trip to the local obesiary, which is typically Greggs – the chain of bakers who feed a large percentage of the population. 

Read More