The Scottish Government has published the latest in a series of reports monitoring health inequalities in Scotland.
The report looks at a range of indicators to assess the gap in health outcomes between the most deprived and least deprived areas of Scotland, and identify changes in this gap over time.
The report highlights that with the exception of one specific indicator (the healthy birthweight indicator), significant health inequalities persist in Scotland.
Positively, in a number of indicators, absolute inequality (the gap between the most and least deprived areas) has narrowed over the longer term. This includes in relation to:
- Premature mortality - the gap has reduced by 16 per cent from its peak in 2002
- Coronary heart disease deaths - the gap has reduced by 47 per cent from its peak in 1997
- First alcohol-related hospital admission - the gap has reduced by 43 per cent since the start of the time series in 1996
- All-cause mortality in those aged 15-44 – the gap has reduced by 16 per cent from its peak in 2001
- Low birthweight – the gap has reduced by 31 per cent since its peak in 2004
However, at the same time the gap has widened for two indicators, including
- Limiting long-term conditions – the gap has increased by 39 per cent since the start of the time series in 2008/2009
- Self-assessed health – the gap has increased by 47 per cent since the start of the time series in 2008/2009
The report also looks at the relative index of inequality (RII), which identifies the gap in health outcomes in the most deprived areas compared to the average throughout Scotland. It is possible for absolute inequalities to improve, but relative inequalities to worsen.
Source: Alliance Scotland