'Taps aff' culture may need to change, says NHS chief

Media caption,
Taps aff or taps oan? Health expert says Scots need to change culture

A senior NHS health director believes Scotland will have to rethink its "taps aff" in the sunshine culture.

Professor Jason Leitch has advised people to be sensible during the current prolonged spell of hot weather.

The national clinical director says Scots may have to change their ways with more sizzling summers likely.

Not wanting to be a "killjoy", he said the "taps aff" culture might not be something that we should encourage too much".

Prof Leitch was commenting as temperatures again hit the mid-20s across Scotland - and with record readings into the 30s in England.

He said good weather brought many positive health benefits, such as exercise and greater physical activity.

But he warned the prospect of further hot summers should make people think twice about over-exposure to the sun.

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A little bit of sun is good for the skin but too much can cause health problems

He said: "We don't want to be the killjoy national health service telling everybody not to do anything, but maybe as you walk around Glasgow the 'taps aff' culture might not be something that we should encourage too much.

"As soon as the sun comes out we wear shorts, no tops and flip-flops - we might have to reconsider that if we're going to have consistent hot weather over the next few years."

Prof Leitch had spoken earlier on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme about the need for a change of attitude.

Later he added: "Reasonable exposure to the sun is a good thing.

"We want people to be physically active in the parks and play football with their kids, of course.

"But we also want them to be cautious, we want them to use common-sense rules that they already know.

"I think the joke of Scotland being the taps aff culture, particularly here in the west perhaps, needs a little bit of a cultural change.

"We should be slightly more cautious in the sun, if the sun is going to be a consistent challenge over our summers."

Image caption,
Professor Jason Leitch advises people to take sensible precautions during the pro-longed spell of hot, sunny weather.

Prof Leitch said young children, older people, and those with underlying conditions were particularly vulnerable to the conditions.

A House of Commons report warned about heat-related deaths trebling by 2050 across the UK if governments do not address issues related to rising temperatures.

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