Alcohol And Smoking Are Priorities For Scilly’s New Health Board

The Council has outlined its key health priorities in a draft report submitted to yesterday’s Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board.

Changes brought in by the coalition government mean more public health responsibilities are to move from the NHS to local authorities and Councils are being asked to produce a tailored strategy for their area.

Alcohol consumption and encouraging people to give up smoking will be a key focus for Scilly. The report cites evidence of a higher rate of an alcohol-linked dementia, affecting younger people on the islands as well as one of the highest per capita rates of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the country.

However, the report admits that smoking rates are not particularly high compared to the rest of the country.

Another priority is ensuring residents have access to mental health services.

The report says that the islands have no mental health support services in place and they’ll need to seal with a growing incidence of dementia as the population ages.

There’s also an aim to ensure residents aren’t disadvantaged by their island location and this includes ‘thinking creatively’ about ways to reduce travel to the mainland.

Overall, the report says that life expectancy in Scilly is higher for both men and women than any other area in Cornwall, with lower rates of obesity and child poverty than the average for England.

However, the report cautions that high levels of fuel poverty, low wages and poor housing could have a negative impact on islander’s health.

300 deaths are recorded each year across Scilly and Cornwall because of cold and damp homes.