A recent report by NHS Scotland may just as well have come out with the following statement ” Better Together is Better off Dead”
With the UK being recognised as the 4th most unequal society in the developed world, with the gap between rich and poor getting ever wider, and with the vast amount of the UKs wealth all heading to London and the South of England, while Scotland is conversely the richest area of the UK outwith London and the South East, our populace has been getting ever poorer and areas of Scotland, in particular the Labour heartlands of Glasgow has the amongst the highest mortality rates and the earliest death rates.
With the resources that Scotland has, and being net contributors to the UK economy with a higher GDP over the past 30 years, this studies findings over the same period are frightening.
“Dr Gerry McCartney, head of the public health observatory at NHS Health Scotland, said thousands of “unnecessary and unjust deaths” happened every year because of health inequalities.
“The reason that health inequalities did not fall as particular causes were successfully tackled may be because individuals with more resources were able to protect themselves against new threats to health.
“Elimination and prevention of inequalities in all-cause mortality will only be achieved if the underlying differences in income, resources and power across Scotland are reduced.”
There have been periods when health inequality has decreased in the UK, which suggests this can be tackled and that the most common factor to health inequalities is social inequalities, according to NHS Health Scotland.
Andrew Fraser, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: ” Patterns of death that are evident in this report are the end-points of circumstances that span Scottish life rather than focus on a particular disease group.
“Prevention is achievable, and inequalities are not inevitable. We can anticipate that the burden of health care facing the NHS, communities and families will become progressively greater if we as a country don’t provide the answers.”
Michael Matheson, minister for public health, said: “I welcome this report, which reflects the fact that health inequality is one of Scotland’s greatest challenges.
“Overall, Scotland’s health is improving, with people living longer, healthier lives, but we need to do more to reduce the health gap between the richest and the poorest people.
“This is not just a health problem, and the responsibilities for the underlying causes – poverty, income inequality, our environments – lie outwith the health system. We are shifting our emphasis from dealing with the consequences to focus on prevention.
“The UK Government’s welfare reforms will have a profound effect on people in Scotland and the changes are likely to widen the health inequality gap, increase poverty and have a negative impact on local economies.
“We are working within our existing powers with all of our partners to tackle poverty, inequalities and injustice that will make a real difference to health inequalities.”
Yes indeed it would appear that one of the benefits of the Union is that the British government can kill us off earlier, and Better Together amounts to Better off Dead.