Health of Scotland’s poorest communities failed by 14 years of SNP

The SNP is routinely failing patients from the most deprived parts of the country, new research has revealed.


People from the least well-off neighbourhoods are more likely to contract serious illness, less likely to survive a cancer diagnosis, and are regularly exposed to higher rates of risk.

Research by Scotland in Union has highlighted 14 measures where Scots in the 20 per cent most deprived areas are affected – one for every year the SNP has been in charge of the NHS.


It shows they are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, including prostate, lung and breast cancer, and less likely to be screened for bowel cancer.

Under the current SNP administration, people in the fifth SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) quantiles are three times as likely to be admitted for mental health treatment and less likely to be given a free eye test.


Stroke rates and emergency hospital admissions are higher too, while cervical cancer screening is lower in areas of deprivation.

The gulf in healthcare impacts children too, with young people in poverty more likely to experience dental decay, at higher risk of childhood obesity and less likely to receive the HPV vaccine in school.

Tragically, people living in the poorest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods are more than three times as likely to commit suicide than those living in the wealthiest 10 per cent.

Scotland in Union said the healthcare gap exposed the SNP’s failings on the NHS and called for a focus on recovery, not division.


Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:


“This analysis shows that under the SNP, your healthcare outcomes are radically worse if you live in a deprived neighbourhood.


“The gulf covers all manner of issues, from cancer survival and mental health to childhood obesity and vital screening checks.


“These are not just statistics; thousands of lives are being damaged or lost as a direct result of the SNP’s failure to tackle poverty and deprivation. Under the SNP, where you live can determine if you live.


“The SNP has had complete control of Scotland’s health service for 14 years and cannot blame anyone else for this.


“And if the SNP had its way, we would have less to spend on health services in a separate Scotland.


“What matters now is that politicians focus on NHS recovery and bringing communities together, not dividing Scotland once again.”


Below are 14 measures where poorer people experience significantly worse outcomes. These compare the poorest 20 per cent with the most affluent 20 per cent, in accordance with the SIMD quintile measure. The exception below is the final example of suicides, which break the groups down to 10 per cent categories.


Bowel cancer screening

Since the launch of Scotland’s bowel screening programme, uptake among people in the least well-off areas has been 51.1 per cent. Uptake among the most well-off has been 71.8 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/scottish-bowel-screening-programme-statistics/


General cancer survival

Males aged between 15 and 74 who lived in the most well-off areas have a one-year cancer survival rates of 82.8 per cent, compared to 65 per cent for the least well-off areas. In females, the same measure is 87.2 per cent v 74.2 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/cancer-survival-statistics/ (Data Excel file 29, tab 1)


Prostate cancer survival

Five-year survival rates for prostate cancer are 75.6 per cent for people in the least well-off areas, compared to 86.8 per cent for those in the most well-off areas.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/cancer-survival-statistics/ (Data Excel file 33, tab 1)

Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer survival

One-year survival rates for men diagnosed with trachea, bronchus or lung cancer in the least well-off areas are 36 per cent, compared to 43.4 per cent in the most well-off . For women, it is 44.3 per cent compared to 49.7 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/cancer-survival-statistics/ (Data Excel file 32, tab 1)

Breast cancer survival

The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 82.5 per cent in the least well-off areas, compared to 90.5 per cent in the most well-off areas.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/cancer-survival-statistics/ (Data Excel file 30, tab 1)


Mental health admissions

The number of mental health hospital admissions in 2019/20 for people from the least well-off areas totalled 8,830. From the most well-off areas, the number was 2,610.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/mental-health/mental-health-inpatient-activity/24-november-2020/data-explorer/

Emergency hospital admissions

Between July and September 2020, there were 31,321 emergency hospital admissions from those from the least well-off areas. There were 15,360 emergency admissions from those in the most well-off areas.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/health-services/hospital-care/acute-hospital-activity-and-nhs-beds-information-quarterly/23-february-2021/data-explorer/

Click on “deprivation” and select “emergency admissions” below for the figures.


Dental decay

In 2020, 58.1 per cent of primary one pupils from the least well-off areas reported no problems with their teeth. In the most well-off areas, the figure was 86.9 per cent.

https://ndip.scottishdental.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2020-10-20-ndip-report.pdf (p17 - link not currently working, but screenshot here.)


Eye tests

In 2019/20, 26.7 per cent of people in the least well-off areas attended for a free eye test. In the most well-off areas, 30.7 per cent attended.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/health-services/primary-care/ophthalmic-workload-statistics/ (Data Excel file 22- Table 7 - Tab Table 7a)


Stroke patients

In 2019/20, there were 6,301 stroke-related discharges from the most deprived areas. In the same period, there were 3,900 discharges from the least deprived.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/stroke-statistics/scottish-stroke-statistics/ (Data Excel file 1 – table 1c)


HPV vaccine

Uptake among girls in 2019 from the least well-off areas for the first dose of the HPV vaccine was 91.1 per cent. In the most well-off areas, uptake was 94.2 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/child-health/hpv-immunisation-statistics-scotland/ (Data Excel file 1 – table 5b)

Childhood obesity

In 2019/20, 27.2 per cent of primary one children from the least well-off areas were at risk of being overweight or obese. In children from the most well-off areas, the figure was 17.2 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/child-health/primary-1-body-mass-index-bmi-statistics-scotland/ (Data Excel file one – tab 9)


Cervical cancer screening

As of March 2020, uptake for cervical cancer screening was 65.3 per cent among 25 to 64-year-olds in the least well-off areas. Among those in the most well-off areas, uptake was 75.5 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/conditions-and-diseases/cancer/scottish-cervical-screening-programme-statistics/ (Data Excel file 1 – tab 2)


Suicide

Between 2015 and 2019 there were 613 suicides among those living in the poorest 10 per cent of Scotland. That compares to 183 in the wealthiest 10 per cent.

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/mortality/suicide-statistics-for-scotland/ (Data Excel file 4 – Suicide SIMD Overview)