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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-07365
Asked by: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 11 March 2022

Question

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the short life working group considering ways to reduce health inequalities through action in primary care.

Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 14 March 2022


Answer

Reducing health inequalities is a clear priority for the Scottish Government and one of the biggest challenges we face, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Providing people with the right support locally and connecting them to the right services is crucial if we are to improve their wealth and their health.

The SG established a Short Life Working Group (SLWG) in October 2020 in acknowledgement of the key role of Primary Care in relation to tackling inequalities. The purpose of the group was not to conduct an academic or systematic review of the literature but to draw on the expertise of a wide range of stakeholders with extensive experience in this field. The group has also worked closely with an expert reference group of people who have lived experience of suffering the impact of health inequality first hand.

The SLWG’s remit was to identify service improvements and actions specifically for Primary Care to help reduce health inequalities and improve health equity. The report of the Primary Care Health Inequalities SLWG can be accessed here: https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781804351642 . It makes a series of recommendations which cover a range of short-term and long-terms actions, which will tackle health inequalities and inequity head-on in primary care settings and wider communities. These include actions to improve equalities data in general practice, strengthening the focus of inequalities through the GP contract and a new Enhanced Service for the first time focussed on activating practices’ full potential to proactively support vulnerable people at risk of poor health outcomes.

I intend to give detailed consideration to the recommendations made and implementation options. I also wish to place on record my sincere thanks to the SLWG and the Chance to Change Group, both of whom gave considerable time and energy to this key priority during Covid-19.