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BBC Scotland's Eric Crockart
"Patients thought at fist the doctor was joking"
 real 28k

Sunday, 7 May, 2000, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Fish on prescription
Oily fish
Oily fish is said to be good for your health
Doctors in a remote part of Scotland are prescribing fish to patients as part of their bid to beat heart disease.

The pioneering treatment is being carried out by a GPs' surgery in Stromness on the Orkney islands.

They are offering cured herring to people who have suffered heart attacks after studies showed eating oily fish reduces the risk of a second attack.

It is thought to be the first time the rollmop herrings - more often seen in a salad - have been dispensed by a surgery in Britain.

Pilot project

The fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which has been shown to lower blood fat levels, reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of thrombosis.

A spokeswoman for Orkney Health Board said the 3,000 cost of the pilot scheme was being met by the board.



The concept of getting it on prescription seemed pretty radical to me. It was the last thing I expected

Stan Headley, heart patient
Herring fishing is one of the area's traditional industries and cured rollmop herrings are a major export.

But the fish, usually sold in supermarkets and available in a range of marinades, are now part of a drive to get heart attack victims to eat healthy food, quit smoking and take up exercise.

Patient Stan Headley, who suffered a major heart attack at the age of 47, said he was amazed when his doctor started talking about the benefits of eating herring.

"The concept of getting it on prescription seemed pretty radical to me. It was the last thing I expected.

"I actually thought the doctor was joking, but I soon realised he was very, very serious," he said.

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