Health and Sport committee calls for Joined-up approach to tackle health inequalities

The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee has said that there needs to be a "joined-up approach across a raft of policy areas" to tackle health inequalities in Scotland.

The committee noted that the majority of issues related health inequalities cannot be addressed by the healthcare sector and that income inequality and deprivation are the leading causes. The committee noted findings which suggest that traditional public health campaigns result in a widening of inequality due to disproportionate uptake.  It recommends focusing on policy measures such as tax and benefits as well as more collaborative working between agencies.  The importance of increasing social capital through individual and community capacity building was also recognised.

Convener of the Health and Sport Committee, Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“That your income, your education and where you live contribute to how healthy you are is an issue that as a society should bring us significant shame. Since devolution, successive Governments have made this a political priority and invested significant amounts of public money in tackling this complex issue. But sadly none have made any significant difference.

“Often the solution will not be in the health service. Our NHS can offer a sticking plaster, but without a new approach, we will not tackle the root causes of inequality and improve the health outcomes of thousands of people across Scotland.”

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