Health, Social Care & Sport Committee Inquiry on Health Inequalities
The committee is undertaking an inquiry on health inequalities covering:
- progress towards tackling health inequalities in Scotland since 2015
- any cross-sectoral work undertaken over that time period to address social inequalities
- what impact any work undertaken has had on health inequalities
opportunities to reduce health inequalities and increase preventative work to tackle social inequalities before they impact on individuals’ health
- what is needed at a policy level to improve the situation, making recommendations for the Scottish Government and other key decision-makers involved in policy development
- how third sector, local government and others might also help tackle health inequalities
The call for views has closed. The committee will now collate the responses received and host informal and formal oral evidence sessions.
Going by the latest statistics from the Scottish Government, progress to tackle inequalities is stagnant if not worsening.
We agree with the Short Life Working Group on Primary Care Health Inequalities that this cannot be tackled through a singular policy intervention. Health inequalities considerations should be prioritised within and added to existing streams of work. Additionally, a new Commissioner for Health Inequalities in Scotland should be established to provide dedicated national leadership to ensure a cross-sectoral approach.
In our experience the third sector is already tuned into this agenda. Our member organisations are frequently taking action to reduce inequalities and reach under-served communities, but we face barriers in doing so. The third sector is expected to plug gaps in a health system that is struggling to meet demands, but voluntary organisations are not recognised or sufficiently resourced to meet this demand. Third sector and voluntary organisations are often the final safety net for people unable to access support elsewhere, but many organisations are at breaking point. We as a sector know how to tackle health inequalities, but we are not being given the tools to do so.
Health inequalities go beyond the Scottish parliament and government. The role of the public, private and third sector must also be considered. This needs to be a national mission. It needs to be approached with the same determination as the climate crisis.
You can read our full response to the call for views here: Voluntary Health Scotland Health Inequalities Inquiry Response
Responses from the Voluntary Health Scotland membership:
- LGBT Health
- Kidney Research UK
- Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland
- Obesity Action Scotland
For more information please contact our policy & engagement officer Kimberley