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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 13:19 GMT
Annual check for nation's health
Heart attack victim
Heart disease deaths dropped by almost 50% in a decade
A public review will take place every year to monitor the state of Scotland's health, the first minister has said.

Jack McConnell unveiled the move at a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference in Edinburgh.

The review will examine the country's health needs and look at the priorities for the coming year in a bid to better prioritise and co-ordinate action.

The announcement came as Health Minister Andy Kerr published the first annual health improvement report.

It said the number of premature deaths from heart disease had fallen by 45% in the last decade.

This new, very public, annual check-up will be a way to rigorously examine what has been done
Jack McConnell
First Minister

Ben McKendrick, policy and public affairs manager with the British Heart Foundation in Scotland, described the figure as an "immense achievement".

He said it was "heartening" to see that work on health improvement was paying off.

"However, there is still a long way to go as too many Scots are still dying prematurely from heart disease," he added.

The report also highlighted initiatives like the ban on smoking in public places, improved school meals and the alcohol test purchasing pilot scheme.


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Mr McConnell told the conference that most Scots shared his vision of a "healthier, happier, more productive Scotland".

He said an annual public review would be held, based on the health improvement report.

"This new, very public, annual check-up will be a way to rigorously examine what has been done, so that our health improves and our economy grows," he said.

"To turn around the reality and the perception of the personal health of Scots, we need to step up our efforts, create a shared national purpose and check against progress each year."

The review will bring in expertise from outside the health service and attempt to harness a "more rounded" approach to addressing health needs.

The first minister also outlined what was being done to tackle problems with alcohol, children's health and workplace matters.

"We have gone from the sick man of Europe to a country receiving international plaudits for innovative approaches to health and health improvement," he added.

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