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Reducing Health Inequalities

NHS Health ScotlandNHS Scotland is a national Health Board; the national agency for health improvement.

Its aim is to improve Scotland’s overall health record by focusing on the persistent inequalities that prevent health being improved for all.

it aims to play a key leadership role in building a fairer, healthier Scotland. It will focus its expertise and strengthen its influence to advocate for action on the underlying causes of health inequalities. At the same time it will be clear and realistic about what NHS Health Scotland can deliver.

The starting point will always be those communities, families and individuals for whom health is not improving as much or as rapidly as it is for the population as a whole. Tackling Scotland’s health inequalities is not just a concern for those in the NHS – it will need commitment and action from everyone in Scotland. NHS Health Scotland can help build a shared belief that action to reduce health inequalities in Scotland is both possible and in all our interests.


NHS Health Scotland, in collaboration with COSLA and other partners, has developed a resource for elected members highlighting their role in tackling health inequalities.

This resource, titled ‘Reducing health inequalities and improving health: what councillors can do to make a difference’ is for all councillors and aims to highlight their role in three main themes which are woven throughout the resource:

  • Reducing health inequalities
  • Improving health in a fairer way
  • Protecting health
The resource is structured around what the evidence tells us about the action needed to reduce health inequalities and improve and protect health.  It makes specific connections between this and the different roles councillors play (e.g. leadership role, partnership role). We hope it will be used as a stimulus for debate, briefings and training locally.

Support for Elected Members

NHS Scotland appreciates the importance of understanding the needs of its audience. Further to the May 2012 local government elections, it recognised that the audience has changed with about a third of elected members being newly elected.

During June 2012 it undertook an exercise to:

  • review new and returning elected members’ understanding of health inequalities, health improvement and health protection
  • assess their understanding of their role in the council and local partnerships to address health inequalities and improve and protect health
  • better understand elected members’ preference for engagement with NHS Health Scotland and their learning styles
  • develop a picture of the priority issues elected members see as important now and in the future
  • capture information about how the issue of health inequalities has been presented to elected members in their communities and how they have responded to this in practice.

The findings of this review informed the development of the reducing health inequalities resource .

The summary and full report of the findings are now available on the NHS Health Scotland website.

Health Inequalities Briefings for CPPs

NHS Health Scotland has produced a suite of briefings designed to support Community Planning Partnerships take action to reduce or mitigate the impact of inequalities on health.

Briefing number 1 provides an overview, with the subsequent briefings relating specifically to a particular Single Outcome Agreement policy priority. All of the briefings can be found on the NHS Health Scotland website.
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