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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


  • The Scottish Government collects information on the experiences of people in relation to healthcare services through the Scottish care experience survey programme.  Both patient and non-patient factors influence people’s experiences. While patient characteristics such as age and gender account for some of the variation in experiences, non-patient factors such as the individual GP practice, GP practice size, type of admission to hospital and individual hospital are also an important influence on experience.
  • Analysis has been undertaken which takes all of these factors into account in relation to differences in experiences for GP, Inpatient and Cancer care.  This analysis can be found at:

 Sources: Variations in the Experience of Inpatients in Scotland: Analysis of the 2016 Inpatient Survey

Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services 2011/12 Volume 3: Variation in the Experiences of Primary Care Patients

Inpatient Experience Survey Volume 3: Exploring differences in experience

Scottish Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2015/16 - Exploring Differences in Cancer Patient Experiences


  • As at end March 2017, 33.8% of staff employed by NHSScotland declared their reigion as Christian. 5.8% of staff declared their religion as belonging to another faith group (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh or Other).  19.5% declared they follow no religion, and religion is unknown or was not declared for 40.9% 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: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/


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The Scottish Public Health Observatory

The NHS Health Scotland equality team webpages provide an introduction to equality, health inequalities and human rights in relation to health outcomes for each of the nine protected characteristics, signposting to qualitative research about access to services, practice guidance and case studies to help planners and practitioners design and deliver services which meet the needs of individuals and communities. Their Monthly Equalities Alert provides an update on the latest articles and journals covering health in relation to protected characteristics and population groups.



Health, Social Care & Sport