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Summary: Religion and Health, Social Care & Sport

Summary: Religion and Health, Social Care & Sport

  • In 2014, after the age distribution of religion groups is taken into account, most of the apparent differences in good/very good general health disappear. Only the lower than average rates for the "Roman Catholic" and "Other" groups are significant, at 72.5% and 70.4% respectively.

  • In 2014, when age standardisation is applied, the apparent differences in the prevalence of long-term limiting health conditions are no longer statistically significant

  • In 2014, after age standardisation, the smoking rate for Church of Scotland, Other Christian and Muslims is considerably lower than the national average rate, and higher among Roman Catholics and those with no religious affiliation. Smoking rates are significantly higher for men compared with women in all religion groups except for those who identified as having 'no religion' and for Roman Catholics, where the rates for men and women are approximately equal

Source: Scottish Survey core Questions (SSCQ) 2014


  • Hindus had the highest self-assessed health (92% rated their health as good or very good) whilst those who reported their religious faith as Other were the least likely to rate their health as good or very good (67%). Respondents whose religion was Church of Scotland were slightly, but significantly, more likely to rate their health as good or very good (78%) than the Scottish average (76%) and Roman Catholics were significantly less likely to do so (72%).


  • People who belonged to no religious group were most likely to drink excessively (26% drank at hazardous or harmful levels) whilst Muslims (5%), Hindus (6%) and Buddhists (10%) were the least likely religious groups to do so. 

Source: Scottish Health Survey Topic Report: Equality Groups


  • In the case of religion, in the inpatient survey there were some differences in the experiences of patients of different religions or beliefs compared to Church of Scotland patients: Church of Scotland patients were more positive. However the experience of Church of Scotland patients, Roman Catholics and other Christians were very similar.
  • In the primary care survey, there were differences in the experiences of patients of different religions or beliefs compared to Church of Scotland patients: Church of Scotland patients were more positive compared to the other groups. However differences were generally weak. The experience of Church of Scotland patients and Roman Catholics were very similar.
  • Where there are differences, it is not clear how they can be explained, for example whether they can be accounted for by actual differences in the quality of care provided or different cultural expectations and perceptions between population groups or a combination of these factors. More details can be found in these reports.

Sources: Variations in the Experience of Inpatients in Scotland: Analysis of the 2010 Inpatient Survey.

Variations in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients: Analysis of the Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12


  • As at end March 2016, 30.4% of staff employed by NHSScotland declared their reigion as Christian.  5.7% of staff declared their religion as belonging to another faith group (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh or Other).  15.8% declared they follow no religion, and religion is unknown or was not declared for 48.1% of staff.  (Information on disability, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation is based on data from a self-reported questionnaire. As this is not mandatory, response rates and completion are variable across NHSScotland.)

Source: ISD NHSScotland Workforce Statistics


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