Glasgow men live 6 years less than those in capital
URGENT action is needed to tackle the wide discrepancies in life expectancy experienced by Scots in different parts of the country, politicians have claimed.
As figures revealed that the average man in Glasgow can expect to live almost six years less than his counterpart in Edinburgh, MSPs said more needed to be done to close the gap and help Scotland shed its nickname of the "Sick man of Europe".
According to the Registrar General of Scotland, despite a rise over the past 25 years, the average life expectancy for a Glaswegian male is just 70.7 years, compared to 76.5 in the capital and 78 years in East Dunbartonshire. Females born in Scotland's biggest city can expect to live 77.2 years in comparison to the 81.4 years enjoyed by Edinburgh women and the 82.5 years by women in East Dunbartonshire.
At the same time, the average life expectancy of a Scottish man was found to be 75.3 years, trailing the UK average of 77.5 years and the EU average of 76.1 years.
Scottish females did not fare much better, with the average woman in Scotland living 80.1 years in comparison to the 81.7 years elsewhere in the UK and the 82.2 years in the EU.
Lib Dem health spokesman Ross Finnie said: "Scotland has long been regarded as the 'sick man' of Europe and while it is encouraging that life expectancy rates have improved, Scotland has some way to go before it shakes of this unfortunate nickname. Tackling the inequality in life expectancy that exists in some areas of Scotland must be an urgent priority for the Scottish Government."
Glasgow Shettleston Labour MSP Frank McAveety added: "These figures should serve as a wake up call to politicians that we need to redouble our efforts to fight poverty."
Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, added: "The BMA calls on the Scottish Government to introduce health impact assessments for all government policy to ensure that health is taken into account by all ministerial departments and portfolios. This is a practical measure that could help to close the health inequalities gap."
Yesterday's figures reveal only Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia have lower life expectancy rates than Scotland.
The figures also revealed that cancer was the main cause of death for Scots last year.
The deaths of 4,906 people - 9 per cent of the total - were caused by strokes. The number of fatalities from hospital acquired infections such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA has fallen in the past year. The statistics showed there were 139 deaths where C.diff was the main cause of the fatality, a fall of 44 per cent on the previous year. Another 326 deaths saw C.diff mentioned on the death certificate, a drop from the 517 in 2008.
There were 24 deaths where MRSA was considered to be the main cause, down from 48 in 2008. It was cited as a contributory factor in 137 deaths, 29 less than the previous 12 months.
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