Health inequalities in Scotland: An independent review An independent review of health and health inequalities in Scotland
In 2022, the Health Foundation carried out an independent review of health and health inequalities in Scotland to provide a detailed and thorough analysis of the health trends and wider factors that have influenced people’s health in Scotland over the last two decades.
The review comes amid ongoing concern around widespread and persistent health inequalities in Scotland, which are are likely to have further widened during the pandemic.
From the 1980s to the late 2000s, life expectancy in Scotland increased significantly. However, over the last decade there has been a slowdown in life expectancy growth. While improvements have also stalled across the whole of the UK, Scotland currently has the lowest average life expectancy at birth of all UK countries, and one of the lowest in western Europe.
Throughout 2022 our four research partners in Scotland published the findings of their research and analysis. In January 2023 the final report from the Health Foundation – Leave no one behind: The state of health and health inequalities in Scotland – was published.
What does our review do?
The review analyses how socioeconomic factors and public health interventions have influenced people’s health in Scotland over the last two decades.
But it also goes beyond the numbers, capturing a wide range of perspectives and experiences across the country, including those of people of different ages, backgrounds and circumstances, and living in rural as well as urban areas.
In building a comprehensive picture of health in Scotland, we hope the review provides a robust evidence base for future policy development and delivery to improve people’s long-term health and close the health gap between the richest and poorest.
Read more about the group and the partners below:
Research, analysis and engagement
We worked with four research organisations in Scotland on the review. Access their findings here:
The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow synthesised a wide range of existing data and new analysis including trends in social inequalities in health, health-related behaviours, and health and social care services in Scotland.
The Fraser of Allander Institute analysed trends in the wider determinants of health such as work, education and housing, and how these are experienced differently across the population.
Nesta in Scotland conducted in-depth workshops with health-related stakeholders to help understand implementation challenges for policy and delivery services that support better health.
The Diffley Partnership undertook a series of deliberative workshops with members of the public, exploring public perceptions of the reasons behind health inequalities, informed by the evidence from the other strands of research. A survey of stakeholders supported Nesta in Scotland’s qualitative work.
In addition to our research partners, the Health Foundation commissioned IPPR Scotland to look at the powers available to the Scottish Government and Parliament and local authorities to tackle health inequalities.
In January 2023 the final report from the Health Foundation – Leave no one behind: The state of health and health inequalities in Scotland – was published.