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BBC Scotland's health correspondent Abeer Parkes
Shettleston residents have there say at the district's health centre
 real 28k

Thursday, 2 December, 1999, 19:32 GMT
Glasgow: Bad for your health?
Shettleston Glasgow has some of the poorest areas in the UK

For the second time in a fortnight, Glasgow's health and prosperity record are under the spotlight - and they make grim reading.

The Anniesland, Springburn, Maryhill, Shettleston, Pollok and Baillieston areas came top in a poverty study carried out by the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at Bristol University.

Two other constituency areas of the city - Glasgow Govan and Glasgow Kelvin - came eighth and 14th on the list.

Glasgow v Edinburgh

The Bristol findings follows a joint study by researchers at Glasgow and Heriot Watt universities which showed that Glasgow was lagging dangerously behind Edinburgh in terms of economic prosperity and general well-being.

Glasgow Glasgow: "Lagging behind"
Professor Ivan Turok of Glasgow University was one of the authors of last week's report which contrasted life in the city with that of the more affluent Edinburgh.

He said: "We're seeing increased spending on health, but we're not seeing as much of an increase on tackling the causes of ill-health including unemployment and poverty."

A GP's view

Dr Alan McKinnon, a GP in Shettleston for 25 years, said he recognised the symptoms.

I don't think it is any worse or any better than anywhere else to be quite honest
Shettleston resident
He said: "I think we see more premature heart disease, we see cancers of all sorts far more prevalent in this area than in more well-off areas, we see far more alcoholism, we see far more abuse of hard drugs, we see obesity as a growing problem in this area, as it is indeed throughout Scotland.

"We see the results of that in higher levels of diabetes, we see very high levels of mental illness.

"These are, I think, the signs of poverty."

A resident's view

However, residents in Shettleston were reluctant to run down the area even more.

One said: "I don't think it is any worse or any better than anywhere else to be quite honest.

"I wouldn't say it puts me off living in the area. Obviously, if I had tonnes of money I'd live somewhere else, but this is where I live.

"I work in another area of Glasgow, which is a lot more affluent, but I don't think its any different."

The Scottish Executive has launched a series of initiatives designed to deal with social exclusion.

Targets for progress

Minister for Children and Education Sam Galbraith said the way to tackle poverty and ill-health was first to set a series of achievable targets.

"These targets are essential so you set progress against them," said Mr Galbraith.

Job centre Link between ill-health, poverty and unemployment
"And then you can see if you are delivering on them, and if not, why not, and put in remedial action."

Doctor Carol Tannahill, director of health promotion at Greater Glasgow Health Board, said it was important not to be too simplistic about setting targets.

In many areas, she said, the intangible as well as the measurable needed to be targeted.

She said: "It needs to look at issues like quality of life, people's mental health and wellbeing, their levels of physical fitness, and so on.

"We do have a range of targets that we're setting.

"This is not something that we could turn around through some sort of quick fix or easy answer."

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Health
North-south health divide 'widening'
28 May 99 |  Business
Report highlights urban jobs crisis
19 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Parliament ponders Royal High flit
16 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Glasgow wins child surgery bid
13 Oct 99 |  Scotland
Scotland resists UK's house price rises

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