A Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities led by the then Minister for Public Health was established in 2007 to identify and prioritise practical actions to reduce the most significant and widening health inequalities in Scotland. The Task Force recognised the need to monitor progress in tackling health inequalities in the longer term as well as managing short and medium term progress.
A technical advisory group was set up in early 2008 to advise the Task Force on long-term monitoring of health inequalities. The group recommended a range of indicators to be monitored over time, as reflected in this report.
The technical advisory group most recently convened in 2019 to review proposed changes to some existing indicators and discuss the inclusion of a new indicator to monitor drug-related hospital admissions. This indicator was presented in the report for the first time in 2020 and is now included annually.
The Scottish Government established a Health Inequalities Unit in 2020 to help tackle the existing health inequalities that have been highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic. The Unit facilitates cross-government action to address the underlying causes of health inequalities, support healthcare institutions to become community anchors and empower communities to develop solutions based on their own individual needs.
In addition to publishing Public Health Priorities in 2018, the Scottish Government are taking population-wide approaches to reduce the significant harms of tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food and drinks: bringing forward legislation to restrict promotions of less healthy food and drink; tackling alcohol consumption and harms; and developing a refreshed Tobacco Action Plan.
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