Experts gather in Scotland for summit to tackle poverty and inequality

4 Nov 2019 03:18 PM

Leaders from across Scotland are gathering in Glasgow to address the country’s significant public health challenges. Scottish Government officials, local authorities and the public health community will come together to discuss ways in which our public health system can tackle poverty and health inequalities head on. 

Joe FitzPatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing will open and set the tone of Poverty and Health Inequalities Summit, hosted by the Scottish Public Health Network and the Poverty and Inequality Commission.

Sir Michael Marmot will share his knowledge, skills and learning in a special session focusing on what can be done to prevent, mitigate and undo widening inequalities in Scotland. 

Increasing rates of poverty and inequality are having severe impacts on health of the people of Scotland, and even how long we live. Life expectancy has stalled and is going down in our poorest areas and our public services are under a lot of strain.

This event brings together all those responsible for public health to drive forward the evidence, policies and practices needed to solve poverty and reduce inequalities for a fairer, healthier Scotland.

David Crichton, Chair, NHS Health Scotland yesterday said:

“Poverty in Scotland persists, and its effect on health is long lasting and profound. Poverty is pervasive, eats away at wellbeing, and it forces decisions that are not in the long-term interest, especially for health.

“Poverty takes over. It puts immediate coping above longer-term interests, whether it is the type and amount of food we eat, the exercise we take, the escape we can achieve through smoking, dependency on drugs, drinking a lot or gambling a lot. We do things that increase our risk of ill health. It also means that when people in poverty do get ill, they are more likely to die than people who are wealthy.

“We all have a human right to good health, and the quality of our health shouldn’t be affected by having or not having wealth. That’s why it’s crucial to come together as we are today, to discuss these challenges and continue learning so we can take action and make a difference in Scotland.”

For more information on health inequalities and poverty, please visit our web pages on income and wealth.