At VHS’s AGM and Annual Lecture on 20th November 2019 our delegates enjoyed two first rate presentations from:
- Dr William Bird MBE, a Reading based GP, CEO and Founder of Intelligent Health, creator of Green Gyms, Beat the Street & Health Walks
- Dr Roy Robertson, an Edinburgh based GP, Professor of Addiction Medicine, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Read the key points from their presentations below.
Prevention and Innovation: Dr William Bird
- Walking is free and has all the benefits of a superdrug.
- Inactivity is a consequence of chronic stress, which leads to an increase in sugar and fat intake and towards acquiring addictive behaviours. This leads to constant levels of chronic inflammation in the body, resulting a range of poor and life limiting physical and mental health conditions.
- Chronic inflammation has been seen in children as young as 6.
- Treatment for chronic inflammation cannot not happen through prescribing medication as it is a societal issue. Social prescribing has been shown to only increase physical activity between 0.5 -1%.
- Physical activity needs to be a means to an end not the end itself, and needs to be embedded in and driven by communities themselves.
- People should become activity leaders within their own communities. The nationwide ‘game’ Beat the Streets is supporting people to become active whilst having fun and connecting with their local community.
View the full presentation: Dr William Bird VHS AGM Presentation
Addiction and Inequalities: Dr Roy Robertson
- Terminology and understanding around drug use has evolved and we are moving away from value judgements. With a greater understanding of the socio-economic factors underpinning drug use.
- We have an ageing population of drug users.
- Of the total population of drug users, 90% do not come to the attention of public services. Many of these people use drugs but then stop. The 10% that do come to the attention of services do so because of a range of underlying issues.
- People who use drugs can suffer from three or more multi-morbidities simultaneously. They a higher prevalence of smoking than the rest of the population and a high likelihood of having experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences.
- People with stronger social capital are more likely to survive and recover.
- Policy responses in Scotland are overly focused on recovery, not long term management and care or medical support. Safe Injecting Rooms have been proven elsewhere in Europe to work. The new GP contract does not redirect resources to general practices in deprived areas, although its partnership working focus is helpful.