The subject is 'Tackling Health Inequality'.
Chair: Gordon McKay - Chair UNISON Labour Link Scotland
Jackie Baillie MSP - Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health
Dr David Conway - Chair SHA Scotland
SHA Scotland has also submitted a contemporary motion on the same topic.
"This conference recognises that Scotland's major health challenge is health inequality. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s, ‘Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2013’, is one of a number of reports that draw attention to this issue. The health section of that report highlights three main points:
• Health inequalities in Scotland are not only stark but growing. A boy born in the poorest tenth of areas can expect to live 14 years less than one born in the least deprived tenth. For girls, the difference is eight years.
• Rates of mortality for heart disease (100 per 100,000 people aged under 75) are twice as high in deprived areas as the Scottish average.
• Cancer mortality rates in the poorest areas (200 per 100,000) are 50% higher than average, and have not fallen in the last decade, while the average has fallen by one-sixth.
The Joseph Rowntree report also concludes that the “Labour Government has taken poverty and social exclusion very seriously, marking a clear distinction from recent previous administrations”. Labour's actions are in stark contrast to the actions of the ConDem coalition who through welfare cuts and reductions in public spending are creating even greater health inequality.
Conference also recognises that the SNP's Ministerial Taskforce on Health Inequalities is an inadequate response to the scale of the challenge facing Scotland.
Conference welcomes the recent recognition of the role of local government in tackling health inequalities in the form of a new guide for councillors published by CoSLA and NHS Scotland. The guide’s key suggestions for action to address health inequalities include providing services universally, but with scale and intensity that are proportionate to the level of disadvantage. While offering intensive support, it cautions against targeting geographical areas defined as deprived because this means missing the vulnerable who live elsewhere. Particularly rural areas that have people experiencing inequalities that may be harder to identify. The guide also reinforces the Christie Commission recommendation that local agencies work together with common aims and measures to reduce health inequalities.
Conference therefore calls on the Scottish Policy Forum to ensure that measures to address health inequality are a major element of Scottish Labour's next policy programme. Recognising that this is not a matter for NHS Scotland alone and requires a comprehensive policy response across all government departments."