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05/05/05: HIS PATCH IS HEALTH FREE ZONE.

Byline: By RACHAEL BLETCHLEY

JOHN Reid's political backyard has the kind of horrifying health figures that could come from a struggling outpost in the Third World.

A quarter of the population in Lanarkshire are long-term sick and men are lucky to live to 70.

One in three women smoke during pregnancy, cancer and heart disease are rife, and 64 per cent of men are obese.

Scotland has long been dubbed the sick man of Europe - but the Health Secretary's patch is one of the sickest in the land.

On May 5, he will fight the seat of Airdrie and Shotts. The neighbouring constituency of Hamilton North and Bellshill, which he's held since 1987, has been lost under boundary changes.

Constituents are concerned on health matters - especially the threatened axing of an emergency unit at Monklands hospital due to doctor shortages.

Women waiting for lifesaving breast cancer treatment have the longest average wait in Scotland - 83 days. The heart attack picture is equally gloomy. Monklands recorded a 78 per cent survival rate - the joint worst in Scotland.

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THREAT: Monklands
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 17, 2005
Words:180
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