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Health Inequalities in Scotland: Looking beyond the blame game

Health Inequalities in Scotland: Looking beyond the blame game

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Published by Oxfam
People in Scotland suffer from large and unjust inequalities in health – these are best be explained by considering the stark and growing inequalities in income, wealth and power between groups. Since the late 1970s, a series of neo-liberal economic and social policies have widened inequality in the UK and have, of course, had an impact in Scotland – for example, male life expectancy in certain more disadvantaged areas in Scotland can be as low as 61 years old. Health inequalities arise because of political decisions and processes and because of this it is essential to campaign for a narrowing in the power, income and wealth gaps that cause them. This paper is part of a series of papers which have resulted from the Whose Economy? seminar series, held in Scotland in 2010 – 2011, whose purpose was to provide a space for researchers, representative organisations, policy-makers and people with experience of poverty to come together and explore the causes of poverty and inequality in today’s Scotland.
People in Scotland suffer from large and unjust inequalities in health – these are best be explained by considering the stark and growing inequalities in income, wealth and power between groups. Since the late 1970s, a series of neo-liberal economic and social policies have widened inequality in the UK and have, of course, had an impact in Scotland – for example, male life expectancy in certain more disadvantaged areas in Scotland can be as low as 61 years old. Health inequalities arise because of political decisions and processes and because of this it is essential to campaign for a narrowing in the power, income and wealth gaps that cause them. This paper is part of a series of papers which have resulted from the Whose Economy? seminar series, held in Scotland in 2010 – 2011, whose purpose was to provide a space for researchers, representative organisations, policy-makers and people with experience of poverty to come together and explore the causes of poverty and inequality in today’s Scotland.

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Published by: Oxfam on Oct 20, 2011
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Oxfam Discussion Papers
Health inequalities inScotland: looking beyondthe blame game
A
Whose Economy 
Seminar Paper
Gerry McCartney and Chik Collins
June 2011
 
www.oxfam.org.uk
 
Health inequalities in Scotland: looking beyond the blame game 
 A
Whose Economy 
Seminar Paper, June 2011
2
About the authors
Gerry McCartney
is
 
a consultant in public health medicine and Head of thePublic Health Observatory, NHS Health Scotland. He was a previously a GeneralPractitioner and public health doctor for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Hetrained in medicine at the University of Glasgow (MBChB 2001, MPH 2006, MD2010) and has an honours degree in economics and development (University ofLondon, 2007). His MD thesis was on the host population impacts of the Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games. His main research interests and publications focuson the causes of health inequalities and the health impacts of socio-economic,political and environmental change. He writes here in a personal capacity and hisviews are not necessarily representative of NHS Health Scotland.Email: 
Chik Collins
is Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the Universityof the West of Scotland. He holds a BA (Honours) in Social Science from PaisleyCollege of Technology (1987), a postgraduate diploma in housing from theUniversity of Stirling (1991), and a doctorate from the University of Paisley (1997)
published as
Language, Ideology and Social Consciousness
(Ashgate, 1999). He haswritten on urban policy, community development, the role of language in socialchange, and more recently, in collaboration with Gerry McCartney and others, onhealth. He has also worked with Oxfam and the Clydebank IndependentResource Centre in producing
The Right to Exist: The Story of the ClydebankIndependent Resource Centre
(2008) and
To Banker from Bankies: Incapacity Benefit
  Myth and Realities
(2009).Email:
Chik.Collins@uws.ac.uk
 
Whose Economy 
Seminar Papers
are a follow up to the series of seminars held inScotland between November 2010 and March 2011. They are written to contribute to publicdebate and to invite feedback on development and policy issues. These papers are
work in
progress‘ documents, and do not necessarily constitute final publications or reflect Oxfam
policy positions. The views and recommendations expressed are those of the author and notnecessarily those of Oxfam. For more information, or to comment on this paper, emailktrebeck@oxfam.org.uk
 
Health inequalities in Scotland: looking beyond the blame game 
 A
Whose Economy 
Seminar Paper, June 2011
3
Contents
Executive summary ................................................................................. 4
 
Introduction: l
ooking beyond ‘the blame game’
.................................... 5
 
Health inequalities: separating myths from reality ............................... 6
 
Health inequalities aren’t inevitable
..................................................... 10
 
Inequalities: why we
do 
care and why we
should 
care ....................... 11
 
Conclusion .............................................................................................. 12
 
References .............................................................................................. 13
 

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