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Governments urged to tackle Scotland’s poor health

13 June 2008

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Scotland’s largest healthcare union told a major conference yesterday that the key to tackling Scotland’s poor health record and the unequal impact of poor health on poorer areas, is for governments at all levels to use taxation and benefits to reduce poverty, and for Scotland’s NHS to remain publicly owned and democratically controlled.

Other steps that governments can take, the union said, are to deliver well-funded public services to underpin decent lives and encourage high-quality, safe and healthy work for all who need it.

Scottish Organiser for Bargaining and Equal Pay, Glyn Hawker, said: “There are improvements in some killer diseases like coronary heart disease and cancer, but life expectancy remains lower in Scotland than Europe on average by almost a year for men – and almost two years for women.”

“In order to address these inequalities, governments at all levels need to reduce the growing gap between the poor and the rich, by using progressive taxation and well-funded public services. Work is also good for health, and good work is even better. Employers and politicians need to work to deliver this. Finally, the Scottish NHS in its 60th year, is developing a model of co-operation which is an ideal to enable joint work with other agencies and tackle the whole social environment, so that we can finally begin to close the 7.5 year mortality gap between well-off areas and deprived areas.”

UNISON Scotland

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