Health of The Nation
Avoidable poor health suffered by people in Scotland results from decades of socioeconomic disadvantage, creating impoverished communities living in sub-standard housing, unable to afford a healthy diet, with shorter life expectancy than their affluent counterparts.
While much was made of the decrease in Drug Related Deaths between 2020/2021, this was the first drop in Drug Related Deaths since 2013. Avoidable health issues such as poor mental health, obesity, addictions, and respiratory illnesses have also increased over the same period.
The Government, although acknowledging the root cause is socioeconomic deprivation has not set out any strategic integrated, community-based plan to address this, nor acknowledged the key role communities play in preventing rather than mitigating damage to people’s lives. In the face of rampant inflation, which is set to engulf up to 80% of the Scottish people, the Holyrood Government still has not set out any strategy using their devolved powers, to protect communities from looming economic catastrophe.
ALBA is committed to guaranteeing free school meals to all school age children in Scotland, including holidays and providing an additional £500 annual payment for low paid households as part of ALBA’s 5 Point Plan to tackle child and family poverty.
We further call on the Scottish Government to recognise socioeconomic factors are the main drivers behind avoidable deaths and to set out a preventative health strategy, centred on community engagement across all age groups. and genders. We must begin to prevent rather than mitigate avoidable health problems.
Community Health and Wellbeing should be understood in its widest socioeconomic and geographic sense. Until the Government truly recognises that avoidable deaths stem from decades of inequality and impoverishment and begin to address this by preventative measures, rather than trying to undo the damage later in people’s lives, Scotland will be caught in a cycle of mitigating rather than solving burgeoning health inequalities.
Each community should be regarded as a unique collection of people and families, that must be listened to, with their views and aspirations respected.