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Webinar: Closing the gap – launching an independent review on health inequalities in Scotland

Friday 6 May 2022, 12.30–13.45

About 1 mins to read
Watch the webinar and download the slides below

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With widespread and persistent health inequalities in Scotland, it has the lowest average life expectancy at birth of all UK countries, and one of the lowest in western Europe. Despite the research attention and policy focus on health in Scotland, there has been a slowdown in growth in life expectancy since the 2000s.

There are also stark differences in life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas. Men and women born in the most deprived areas of Scotland can expect to live about 24 fewer years in good health than people born in the least deprived areas.

The Health Foundation is carrying out an independent review to build a better understanding of health and health inequalities in Scotland over the past 20 years and why they persist despite policy intent. We will be building a conversation and sharing findings from the review throughout 2022. 

In this webinar we were joined by members of the expert advisory group to discuss the scope of the review and the multiple approaches required to take effective action on health inequalities. They considered the historical policy context and how the review can support future policy discussions and action in the pandemic recovery. 


Chris Creegan has spent his career in the public and third sectors. He has worked in policy, research, and communications, and held a number of senior leadership roles. He was Director of Corporate Affairs and Deputy Director of Qualitative Research at the National Centre for Social Research between 2006 and 2012, and Chief Executive of the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability between 2013 and 2019.

Chris has extensive experience in public life including as a trade union official, a local councillor, and as a charity and not for profit non-executive. He was Chair of Tower Hamlets Homes between 2007 and 2011, and Scottish Adoption between 2008 and 2015.

Chris is a regular blogger, occasional columnist, and commentator across social media, newspapers and radio. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, and of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Chris is a lifelong runner and competes regularly for Edinburgh AC. He spends much of his spare time reading and writing, and in the East Neuk village of Pittenweem with his husband, Allan, and their Border Terrier, Craigie.

Chris Creegan

David Finch is Assistant Director in the Healthy Lives directorate.

David joined the Health Foundation in May 2018 and currently leads a programme of work developing policy and analysis related to the wider determinants of health. His work focuses the role that social and economic policy and business can play in improving health, and understanding the influence that health has on social and economic outcomes of people and places.

Previously David worked for the Resolution Foundation as a Senior Fellow working on a range of issues including tax and benefit policy with a focus on Universal Credit, calculating the Living Wage, demographics, pensions and pay progression.

Prior to this, he worked as an Economic Adviser at the Department for Work and Pensions on areas including childcare and state pensions. David studied Economics at the University of Sussex.

David Finch, Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation

Katie Kelly is the Depute Chief Executive with East Ayrshire Council and her portfolio spans a wide range of services and cross cutting transformational topics including economic growth, community wealth building, community power, community led regeneration, Housing, net zero, workforce planning and wellbeing.

She has recently taken on the role of Senior Responsible officer for the Ayrshire Growth Deal. She has been employed in the public sector in Ayrshire for over 30 years working in various roles including Head of Housing, Communities and Transformation and in other sectors including community sport, health improvement, events, community planning, strategy and policy development and transformational change.  Katie also spent 2 years seconded to NHS Ayrshire and Arran to set up the Community Health Partnership arrangements in East Ayrshire with a strong focus on co creating health and ensuring full engagement of patients, their families and wider communities in local healthcare. 

Over the years Katie has developed and led a range of innovative and community focused services.  Responding directly to the findings of the Christie Commission, greatly influenced ABCD and coproduction based approaches and embracing the views of local people and stakeholders Katie led and implemented the innovative Vibrant Communities approach as part of East Ayrshire’s Transformation Strategy.  Vibrant Communities represents a new and unique approach to the challenge of Public Sector Reform.  Working with, rather than for, communities the aim is to change culture and unlock the knowledge, skills and experience of local people and employees, to harness their enthusiasm, talent and ‘can do’ spirit which exists across East Ayrshire. 

Katie is passionate about working alongside people and communities, reducing inequalities, servant and collaborative leadership, coaching and mentoring approaches, community and workforce empowerment, community wealth building and helping to make a positive and lasting difference to people lives. 

Katie is the SOLACE national spokesperson for Equalities and Justice, a member of the CORRA Foundation’s People in Place Observers Group and is involved in a wide range of national networks and collaborations around Public Service Reform, Leadership Development and Community Power. 

Katie Kelly

Sir Michael Marmot has been Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985, and is Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity. 

He is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (Bloomsbury: 2015), and Status Syndrome (Bloomsbury: 2004). Professor Marmot is the Advisor to the WHO Director-General, on social determinants of health, in the new WHO Division of Healthier Populations; Distinguished Visiting Professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong (2019-), and co-Director of the of the CUHK Institute of Health Equity. He is the recipient of the WHO Global Hero Award; the Harvard Lown Professorship (2014-2017); the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health (2015), and 19 honorary doctorates. Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for nearly 50 years.

He chaired the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, several WHO Regional Commissions, and reviews on tackling health inequality for governments in the UK. He served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011, and as President of the World Medical Association in 2015. 

Sir Michael Marmot is President of the British Lung Foundation.  He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and of the Faculty of Public Health; an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy; and of the Royal Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Paediatrics and Child Health, and General Practitioners. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Medicine and of the Brazilian Academy of Medicine.  He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years and in 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities.  

Marmot image

Carol was Director of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health from 2005 to 2020.  As well as leading the organisation and its overall development, she had a particular interest in neighbourhood-based approaches to improving health and was a Principal Investigator on the GoWell programme (studying the impacts of urban regeneration on health), and the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland programme. 

From 2014 until her retiral in September 2021, she was also the Chief Social Policy Adviser in the Scottish Government where she had a wide-ranging brief working with various teams and Directorates on approaches to supporting communities and tackling deep-rooted inequalities.  Latterly she led the Covid-19 Advisory Groups on Education and Children’s Issues, and on Higher and Further Education.   

Carol has contributed to many international, national and local public health policy and strategy developments.  She graduated with a BA in Human Sciences at the University of Oxford, and MPH and PhD in Public Health at the University of Glasgow.  Thereafter she held posts at the University of Glasgow and in the NHS in Greater Glasgow, including as Director of Health Promotion and Executive Member of the Health Board. 

She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Social Sciences, a Trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Honorary Professor with the University of Glasgow.  Carol was appointed OBE for services to public health in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.   

Carol Tannahill


Pennie Taylor is an award-winning freelance journalist and broadcaster who specialises in health and care issues. Based in Glasgow, she was BBC Scotland’s first Health Correspondent and has also worked on the newsdesks of national newspapers.

A former Head of Communications for the Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust in Edinburgh, Pennie has inside knowledge of how public services work. This gives her a uniquely informed perspective from which to approach and stimulate debate.

Head and shoulders photo of Pennie Taylor

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