Why a fairer Scotland would be a healthier Scotland

Our health enables us to live a fulfilling life and be active members of society.
Our health enables us to live a fulfilling life and be active members of society.

The Scottish Government’s Creating a Fairer Scotland and Creating a Healthier Scotland national conversations resonate with our corporate strategy A Fairer Healthier Scotland.

We wish to see a Scotland in which all of our people and communities have a fairer share of the opportunities, resources and the confidence to live longer, healthier lives.

Discussions often focus on the negative impact of inequality on economic growth, and for good reason.

What tends to get less airtime and column inches is that inequality is bad for our health.

Our health enables us to live a fulfilling life and be active members of society, it’s crucial to our individual wellbeing and to our contribution to society as a whole.

Fairer societies have been found to do better across a range of health and social outcomes including violence and homicide, teenage pregnancy and drug use.

13894936279_5165910d02_zBeyond control
Unhealthy behaviours that damage health are present in all population groups – however, some groups and communities experience factors and circumstances that harm their health which are largely beyond their control.

The physical and social environment in which they live, learn and work.

Sadly, there is clear evidence that health-harming factors are distributed unequally across our society. Needless to say, those with the greater share of income, power and wealth are more able to change or improve [or even remove] health damaging factors.

So what do you do if you have a:

– low income?
– no access to other sources of income?
– live in a house that is of poor quality and costs too much to heat?

Layers of action
Improving the health of the population in an equitable way requires action across a range of public policy areas. For example, policies to tackle economic and social inequalities should happen alongside and at the same time as action to address the behavioural determinants of poor health.

We’re working to move towards prevention and early detection – such as the bowel screening campaign.

The focus needs to shift away from meeting the cost of dealing with fall-out due to health or social problems towards prevention and early intervention.

The focus needs to shift away from considering the problem as a responsibility to the specific individual, community or government towards the idea that this is everyone’s responsibility. In the end, we are all affected and we all pay the cost.

To create a fairer Scotland all of us need to strive towards action, to drive a fairer share of income, resources and power.

We need to ensure fair and equitable access to high quality housing, education, health and other public services, and we need to ensure all public services are planned and delivered in proportion to need.

The message is clear A Fairer Scotland will be a Healthier Scotland.

Gerry McLaughlin (Chief Executive, NHS Health Scotland)

Other information
Website, NHS Health Scotland’s strategy 2012-2017
This strategy sets out the role, direction and priorities of NHS Health Scotland for the next five years – as we progress towards ‘A Fairer Healthier Scotland’.

Published by

Healthier Scotland

The Scottish Government is inviting you to have your say on what a healthier Scotland should look like in the next 10 to 15 years.

One thought on “Why a fairer Scotland would be a healthier Scotland”

  1. Unfortunately this web site is like every other “Official Site”. It’s a good news sheet that nobody reads. I posted the following to the conversation but it is not good news so will be ignored:-

    I watched the Healthier Scotland video that came in on an e-mail. It sounded good but unfortunately did not allow comments to be made directly at the end. In the faint hope that the message was in good faith I write about a major problem in our area. I’m one of the many that believes that the SNP are doing a good job in Scotland and went round the doors canvassing for both a Yes Vote and for our new SNP MP for Argyll & Bute. On the doorstep I often had to suffer justified criticism about the lack of an A&E department on the north side of the Clyde. I fear this will be worse in the upcoming election for Holyrood next year. Jackie Baillie will, quite rightly lay it on thick that our SNP government has removed all of the A&E services to the other side of the river.

    One heart-breaking story I heard from a single mother was that her child was taken ill in the evening and was admitted to our “local” A&E in Paisley. The child was admitted and the mother was left to try to make her way home without sufficient funds for a taxi. She got home at 07:00 having been out all night trying to get home. My daughter-in-law’s father lives in Old Kilpatrick and had a heart operation in the Golden Jubilee; things were not going well after he was discharged and Golden Jubilee wanted him to go to his local A&E which is now in Paisley; eventually somebody saw sense and rather than be taken past the door he was readmitted.

    I’m told there is not the infrastructure at the Golden Jubilee hospital to support an A&E dept. without major building works. We used to have a fully functioning A&E department at the Vale of Leven Hospital but that is now reduced to a minor injuries unit although the building, while neglected and in need of attention, is otherwise much the same as it was. To the customer it seems simple; reopen a fully functioning A&E at the Vale. I fully realise that it’s not that simple; the Vale has been salami sliced to oblivion and the staff are all now sited next to the greasy promotion poles in Govan and Paisley and the Vale is not an attractive option for them.

    It needs decisive action from the politicians in Holyrood to insist that the inhabitants of both West Dunbartonshire and Eastern Argyllshire are provided with a very necessary A&E department, preferably at the Vale of Leven Hospital.


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