Long Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities: Headline Indicators – October 2015

Annual update of the 'Long-term Monitoring of Health Inequalities' headline indicators.

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The report uses a combination of measures of health inequalities to give a fuller understanding of the different aspects of inequalities. These are:

  • Relative Index of Inequality (RII): How steep is the inequalities gradient? This describes the gradient of health observed across the deprivation scale, relative to the mean health of the whole population. Unless explicitly explained, the RII indicates the extent to which health outcomes are better in the least deprived areas, or worse in the most deprived areas, compared to the mean.
  • Absolute range: How big is the gap? This measure describes the absolute difference between the extremes of deprivation.
  • Scale: How big is the problem? This measure describes the underlying scale of the problem, puts it into context and presents past trends at Scotland level.

Following recommendations from the expert group, an area-based index derived from the income and employment domains of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) has been used to define deprivation, in the absence of individual-level data on socio-economic circumstance. These indicators and measures were recommended for long-term monitoring of health inequalities due to deprivation at Scotland level. Monitoring health inequalities due to other factors, such as age, gender and ethnicity, and indicators at a local level, may require different indicators and measures. Further information on the methods is provided in Annex 1.

Changes to indicators

In July 2015, there was a further meeting of the technical advisory group. The meeting focused on a number of areas for development in the report in the short and longer term and reviewed the list of indicators. A full record of the recommendations which will be developed for future reports is provided on the Health Inequalities pages of the Scottish Government website.

Changes agreed and incorporated in this year's report include the inclusion of a new indicator of 'below average' mental wellbeing, which more effectively illustrates the inequalities in mental wellbeing compared to the indicator included in previous reports.

The 'first ever' alcohol-related hospital admissions indicator has also been revised to refer to first hospital admissions in the last ten years to ensure consistency over the full reporting period.


Email: Craig Kellock

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