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Policy and research unit to drive improving health and reducing inequalities in Scotland A programme of work to drive improving health and reducing inequalities in Scotland

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  • The Health Foundation is setting up a new policy research unit in Scotland to take forward work to improve health and reduce inequalities, following the publication of the Leave no one behind report. 
  • We are spending up to £1.2m in grant funding to establish the unit as part of a three-year programme of activity in Scotland.
  • The policy and research unit will be set up in early 2024.

In 2022, the Health Foundation led an independent review into the state of health and inequalities in Scotland, leading to a final report, Leave no one behind. Published in January 2023, the report highlights concerning trends that indicate a lack of improvement in the decade before the pandemic and, in many cases, widening inequalities, with signs that the most disadvantaged are being left behind. This is underlined by increasing rates of extreme poverty.

The overall lack of progress on health and widening inequalities comes despite continued policy focus and detailed surveillance and data collection. The report concludes that Scotland can build on strong policy intent to reduce stubbornly high inequalities.

As part of the Health Foundation’s plans to support this renewed ambition we have awarded up to £1.2 million in funding to Fraser of Allander Institute and the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Strathclyde to host a new policy and research unit for 3 years with a focus on accelerating efforts to improve health and reduce inequalities in Scotland. 

The unit will provide greater independent voice and scrutiny in Scottish policy debates particularly in relation to the socio-economic drivers of ill health. It will work with people from the public, private and third sectors and the wider public to drive the practical action needed to improve health and reduce inequalities in Scotland.

Chris Creegan has been appointed as the Programme Director for the work as a whole, which includes establishing a senior leaders network in Scotland and chairing a steering group. The steering group will be established to inform and shape the programme and help to maximise impact.

Fuller detail on the activities of the programme will be available following a design phase in early 2024.

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