As I outlined in my foreword, my second Annual Report on the State of the Public Health in Lothian has sought to bring into focus our need to realise the potential for health that exists.

Just as I have structured the report around the life course of people, so we must constantly remind ourselves that health is something that we all need to work on throughout life. This means that we need to recognise that each of us has a role to play in achieving our health potential.

For individuals - we must recognise that how we live our lives has a major impact on our health. We must recognise that we have a responsibility to ourselves - and to those around us - to do what we can to protect and promote our own health, to seek and accept help and support and to offer it to others.

For the NHS in Lothian, its professionals and its partners - we must acknowledge that we are there not only for those who are sick, but to help individuals and communities access the care they need to stay well. We must seize the opportunities presented to us to remould and redesign what we do so that our services promote, protect and maintain health through high quality, effective services that both anticipate the need for care and provide care when needed.

For all organisations in Lothian - we should recognise the important ways in which your contributions are helping to establish and achieve health and wellbeing in those we work with and for. Whether as an organisation that provides services, one that ensures it has a healthy workforce, or a group of people that care about a health issue, we are all part of the effort in Lothian to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

As the Director of Public Health for Lothian, I am convinced that if we are all truly committed to these roles, we will achieve better health for Lothian people. Together we really can realise the potential.

Alison McCallum
Dr Alison McCallum
Director of Public Health and Health Policy