Health and ill-health in a coalmining community in west Fife
Jones, Ian George
A working model of the WHO definition of health was developed which involved dialogue with health workers and members of the community. The method developed was applied to the investigation of the health and health care of a mining community in West Fife. In general, health care facilities were found to be less than adequate to cope with presend demand and co-operation between certain services was poor. A cohort of 427 men who had all worked at one coalmine in West Fife in 1955 was traced in 1977* combining information from standard NHS sources with that supplied by survivors still living in Fife, it was possible to ascertain the vital status of all the cohort, and to confirm this in 97^» Cohort mortality was investigated using actuarial methods and in general did not differ from that of other men in Britain of the same age. Some differences were found in cause-specific mortality and difficulties in interpreting these data are discussed. A stratified simple random sample of men still resident in West Fife was investigated by interview and, where appropriate, by examination of their hospital records and discussion with their GPs, The response rate to the questionnaire was 100%. The men were found to have high levels of ill-health. Difficulties they encountered with the local health services are discussed. All teenage recruits into the cohort in the early 1950s who were still living in Fife were similarly interviewed and the replies supplemented "by information from GPs and hospital records. The response rate to the questionnaires was 100$. All these men had been face-workers at some time although less than half were still employed in the coalmining industry at the time of interview. The men were found to have very high levels of acute and chronic ill-health and 14$ were confirmed to have severe disability as a direct consequence of their work in the mines. The prevalence of ill-health was much higher than among other men in Scotland and this difference could not be explained on the basis of selective migration of healthy men away from the area.