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New figures show health inequalities present from birth

Nearly double the number of children from the most deprived areas in Scotland required urgent care as they entered the world compared to those from the wealthiest places, new figures have shown.

In 2022, 1,182 babies considered to be from the most deprived areas needed treatment such as intensive care or admission to a high dependency unit.

Over the same period, just 645 from the least deprived 20 per cent required the same care.

Pro-UK campaigners Scotland in Union said the statistics should serve as a reminder to the SNP-Green government to focus on issues such as health and poverty ahead of the constitution.

The figures were published by Public Health Scotland, and showed that of 47,249 births in Scotland last year, 4,349 needed extra care from birth.

However, analysis of the deprivation scale shows the poorer the area the baby from is, the more likely they were to require that intervention.

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

“Health inequalities exist at every stage of life, but it’s particularly shocking to see how they can impact from before a child is born.

“People will find it distressing that so many of these babies need that urgent intervention purely because of where they are from.

“The Scottish Government controls the NHS and has considerable powers to alleviate poverty, and has done ever since the creation of the Scottish Parliament.

“It is issues such as these that ministers should be focusing on and finding solutions to, rather than continuously distracting themselves with their campaign to break up the country.”

The full report is available here.

The relevant file can be found on Table 7 (neonatal care) with the deprivation figures on tab 7.2:

They show the following number of babies who required “extra care” in 2022 broken down by deprivation category:

1 (most deprived) – 1,182

2 – 1,015

3 – 714

4 – 776

5 (least deprived) – 645

Unknown - 17

Total – 4,349


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