Health and Well-being (Coatbridge and Chryston)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Health and Well-being – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour 2:15 pm, 7th June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to improve the health and well-being of the people of Coatbridge and Chryston. (S3O-152)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

The keep well programme of health checks plans to provide checks for people aged 45 to 64 who are most at risk of preventable ill health. The programme will make every effort to communicate with people who have not yet had a health check and persuade them to get in touch with their general practitioner practice.

The Scottish Government will also improve the health of people in the Coatbridge area through a range of other programmes, including smoking cessation services and the promotion of positive mental health and well-being.

Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour

I am pleased that the minister intends to continue with the good initiatives of the previous Labour-led Executive. Given the advantages to health and well-being that are conferred on mothers and babies by breastfeeding, does the minister share my concern that breastfeeding rates remain relatively low in constituencies such as Coatbridge and Chryston, despite the evidence on its benefits? What additional support is available to NHS boards and education authorities in areas of multiple deprivation to continue to change attitudes and improve services? When the breastfeeding adviser post is filled—in the autumn, I believe—will that person receive sufficient resources to support the work that is required to improve breastfeeding rates throughout Scotland?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I recognise the member's important contribution to breastfeeding. I share her concern about the fact that breastfeeding rates in some of our most deprived communities are far too low.

The Scottish Government is considering how support for breastfeeding can be incorporated into its commitment to improve health. It is committed to the promotion of good eating habits from children's earliest years, which includes providing support for breastfeeding as part of a healthy food policy. I assure the member that the appointment of the adviser is expected to be made in the autumn and that that person will get the necessary resources to enable them to do the job properly.