Former nurse aims to cut number of early deaths in Director of Public Health role

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The woman charged with improving the city’s health says it is never too late to make a big lifestyle change.

Muriel Scott was confirmed as Director of Public Health for Milton Keynes this week, having held the position on an interim basis since April last year. She holds the same post for two neighbouring local authorities, Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire councils.

With a focus on reducing the number of early deaths – under the age of 75 – as a result of heart disease, strokes and cancer, Ms Scott will also be tasked with trying to reduce the unhealthy imbalance of life expectancy based on what area of the city you life in.

The Citizen revealed in October that people living in the Coffee Hall area of MK are expected to die up to 11 years sooner than those living two miles away in Middleton.

A resident of Middleton ward is expected to live to the age of 86.3, while in Woughton ward the average age of death is just 75.4.

Ms Scott, who preferred not to give her age, said that addressing the health-related problems associated with the deprived areas of the city was one of her priorities.

“MK is a healthy place, but there are communities with poorer health,” she said.

“If you are unemployed or come from a family with a low income, then that can have an impact on your health.

“I’m looking forward to supporting people in MK to make healthy choices and live healthy lifestyles.”

A former nurse, Ms Scott, who ‘doesn’t smoke but does enjoy an occasional drink’, is encouraging people in the city who want to make a change to take advantage of specialist support that is available.

“You are so much more likely to stop smoking if you get specialist support,” said Ms Scott, who leads a Public Health team of 25 in MK.

“We want people to stop smoking, eat healthily, take regular exercise and drink to safe limits.

“Those four things can make a huge difference to someone’s life expectancy.”

Free specialist support and advice is available from the MK Stop Smoking service on 0845 200 23 23.