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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-22436: Adam Tomkins (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 1 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to address the social determinants of health.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 24 April 2019

The third Scottish Government Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities met between 2012 and 2013. Its final meeting was on the 13th of June 2013.

The Equally Well review 2013 report was the conclusion of the second review by the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities. It offered us a strong foundation on which to build policy and action across national and local government and its partners. This continues to develop, drawing on new and emerging evidence from within Scotland and beyond, and meeting new challenges such as the impacts on health and wellbeing of austerity and the UK Government’s welfare benefits reforms.

Health and equalities lie at the core of everything we do as a Government and we are committed to addressing all underlying causes that drive health inequalities. Our bold package of measures to help tackle key issues such as smoking, obesity, inactivity, and alcohol misuse will support people to live longer healthier lives.

We are also tackling the wider causes of health inequalities through measures such as investing in affordable housing, providing free school meals and continuing commitments like free prescriptions and free personal care.

We have invested more than £125 million in 2018-19 to mitigate the worst impacts of welfare reforms and to protect those on low incomes. Our investment has increased by £20 million on our spend in the previous year.

In addition, tackling mental health stigma and improving the quality of care is a priority for the Scottish Government. Our vision is of a Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights – free from stigma and discrimination. This covers not only mental health services, but also improving wider public mental health and wellbeing.

Our ten year Mental Health Strategy sets out a wide range of actions which we are progressing, with 39 out of 40 actions now complete or underway.

We’ve also recently announced improved support for perinatal and infant mental health, supported by £50 million investment in services over the next 4 years.