The Cross Party Group (CPG) on Health Inequalities was formally recognised by the Scottish Parliament’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee on 7th November 2016. The CPG now has its own webpage: CPG on Health Inequalities
Formal registration followed the CPG’s first meeting this Parliamentary session, on 25th October. VHS was appointed as Secretary to the Group again. Three co-convenors were elected: Donald Cameron MSP, Clare Haughey MSP and Anas Sarwar MSP. There are currently 11 MSP members and 33 non-MSP members of the group. A wide range of topics for future discussion was proposed:
- How can stretched primary care/GPs/acute care meet patient needs in deprived areas
- Impact/role of closing the attainment gap
- Impact/role of employability/fair work measures
- Impact/role of housing and of fuel poverty
- Mental health – e.g. the draft 10 year strategy and the commitment to giving parity to mental and physical health (possible joint meeting with Mental Health CPG)
- People who are disconnected from services, find services hard to access or engage with, and the important role of third sector in advocacy and support
- Issues concerning tobacco, alcohol, obesity and diet (possible joint meeting with the Improving Scotland’s Health CPG)
- Issues concerning the built environment – planning, transport, Place Standard, community empowerment, use of green space, A Natural Health Service for Scotland
- Impact of health and social care integration, the wider role of local government finance in deprived communities, and ’Once for Scotland’ versus localisation
- Issues of gender, age and geography
- Scottish Prison Service: health outcomes five years on from NHS taking responsibility for prisoners’ health
The CPG’s scheduled meetings for the first six months of 2017 are:
- Thursday 19thJanuary, 1pm to 2.15 pm, Committee Room 6
- Thursday 30thMarch, 1pm to 2.15 pm, Committee Room 6
- Thursday 15thJune, 1pm to 2.15 pm, Committee Room 6
Non-MSP members should advise Lauren Blair if they plan to attend a meeting and should arrive in the Parliament by 12.40 pm at the latest, to allow time to be escorted to the room. Tea/coffee and shortbread will be available for each meeting.
As suggested by Monica Lennon MSP, on 19th January 2017 the CPG will consider the built environment and its relationship with health inequalities. VHS will identify speakers to address this topic and advise who they are in due course. We anticipate including an input from NHS Health Scotland on the Place Standard.
The agenda for 19th January will be shared nearer the time.
At the January meeting MSPs will also consider applications from additional organisations that have asked to join the CPG. These include The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, the Royal College of General Practitioners, and RNIB.