Poor health and no wealth

CHEX’s recent policy briefing, Tackling Scotland's health inequalities: A time for radical change? brought together some recent policy statements and research findings around health inequalities in Scotland and argued that community-led health must be an integral part of any shift in strategy.

Now, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has added to the growing body of evidence that current strategies aren’t working.  Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2013 is built around a set of indicators and constructed using the latest, publicly available, official government data, including unemployment, education, and health. 

The research shows that Scotland’s child poverty rate dropped from 31 per cent to 21 per cent (from 340,000 to 220,000).  However, it also highlights growing unemployment, numbers of low-income families and numbers of people in part-time employment.  Its starkest findings are in the figures for the health of the nation. While cancer mortalities fell across the country, in the poorest areas there was barely any change at all. There was a steep fall in deaths from coronary heart disease in the poorest parts of Scotland, but the rate of mortality in these areas is still twice the Scottish average.

Report author, Tom MacInnes said:

“With the political debate dominated by the referendum on independence, it’s important to point out that the issues that are central to tackling poverty, such as health, childcare, schools and housing fall within current legislative powers of the Scottish Government. The problems highlighted in this report cannot wait; action can and should be taken now.”

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