Scottish Budget 2024 to 2025: equality and fairer Scotland statement

Assesses where the Scottish Government is proposing to spend public money and how it aims to reduce inequality. It is a supporting document to the Scottish Budget and should be read alongside associated Budget publications.

NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care

Budget Purpose

To deliver efficient and effective public services and tackle health, poverty and inequalities.

Primary national outcomes:

  • Health
  • Children and Young People
  • Communities
  • Human Rights

Key human rights:

  • Article 2: Right to life
  • Article 8: Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence
  • Article 9: Freedom of thought, belief and religion
  • Article 11: Freedom of assembly and association
  • Article 12: Right to marry and start a family
  • Article 14: Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms

Summary of how our budget impacts on equality and Fairer Scotland

We are committed to providing equitable access to health and social care services and treatment. Prioritising NHS Recovery and addressing long delays in medical treatment or assessment will produce benefits for all population groups. Local impact assessments will identify and mitigate any aspects that are relevant for patients with protected characteristics. That will include taking action to eliminate discrimination and ensuring equality of opportunity. As an example of this, we are taking specific action on long waiting times to assess gender identity healthcare and to improve delivery of services. This work will support the reduction of health inequalities experienced by trans (including non-binary) people.

We are committed to reducing inequalities caused by socio-economic disadvantage. Last year’s Parliamentary inquiry on health inequalities highlighted key issues that need to be addressed if we are to narrow gaps in health outcomes for people in Scotland, including those widened by COVID-19. These priorities underpin the decision, informed by stakeholder evidence, to identify ‘poverty and deprivation’ as a key cause of mental health inequality to be tackled through actions in the ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Delivery Plan’. We are working across Primary Care to improve services and support for all, including people who have unmet needs and are at higher risk of health inequalities.

This includes our work to enhance the role of multidisciplinary teams, working alongside GPs and in community settings to support patient care, and to maximise preventative and proactive approaches which are offered in the community.

We are investing more in practices servicing disadvantaged areas, including new Inclusion Health Action in GP funding for general practices in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with the highest levels of poverty and disadvantage. Across our portfolio commitments, work is either complete or underway that supports the aims of Fairer Scotland Duty, including Investment to increase pay for social care workers on low incomes and supporting NHS Boards to open up new, accessible routes into Health and Social Care careers and progression, including through earn-as-you-learn models.



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