A wide-ranging report published by the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee of Scotland calls for urgent action to address health inequalities, and for tackling poverty to be considered a major public health priority at all levels of Government in order to address this.
Evidence suggests the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly rising cost of living have further exacerbated Scotland’s health inequalities. The committee calls for action across the UK and the Scottish governments, and by local authorities, with recommendations to further include public service reform and strategic action across multiple policy areas.
The report highlights action on education, employment and housing to improve health outcomes and better tackle health inequalities. It says safe, secure and affordable housing must be available for all and highlights the significant impact planning policy can have on health outcomes and, if implemented poorly, in widening inequalities.
The report also highlights extensive evidence submitted to the inquiry that informal and unpaid caring has a disproportionate impact on health outcomes and that informal carers face significant health inequalities as a result. To address this issue, the Committee calls on the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland to provide more targeted support for carers.
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