Scotland narrows mortality gap

Death rates have drawn closer to those south of Border. Picture: Getty

Death rates have drawn closer to those south of Border. Picture: Getty

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THE mortality rate in Scotland has been the highest in the UK over the past 30 years but the gap with England is ­narrowing, ­according to a new report.

Although Scotland has the highest mortality rate, at 1,354 deaths per 100,000 men and 1,005 deaths per 100,000 women, the difference with England has dropped by 40 deaths a year in men and 19 deaths a year in women since 1983.

The study by the Office for National Statistics found that cancer overtook ­circulatory diseases as the ­biggest killer in 2010.

This is due to a rapid fall in the mortality rate of people ­suffering from such ­diseases, which includes heart disease and strokes – down by 42 per cent in the past ten years. In 2013, cancer killed 353 men and 243 women per 100,000 people.

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The UK’s mortality rate stood at 1,002 people per 100,000 in 2013 and men had a higher ­mortality rate than women, at 1,183 compared with 865.

However, there has been a ­decline in the mortality rate of 45 per cent for males and 36 per cent for females since 1983.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland chief executive David Clark said: “It’s excellent news that there has been a sustained reduction in death rates from heart disease and strokes.

“The two main reasons are ­improved acute services – Scotland has some of the best ­organised services in Europe, and secondly improved lifestyles, particularly for people who have already had a life-threatening event.

“However, we’ve been less successful in reducing the actual incidence of heart disease and stroke, although there has been considerable progress.”

The report states: “The number of deaths registered in the UK in 2013 was 576,458, an overall reduction of 13 per cent from the total number of deaths, 659,101, registered 30 years ago.

“The number of deaths ­declined for both men and women between 1983 and 2013, by 15 per cent for males and 10 per cent for females.

“These declines have occurred despite the overall increase in population and the ageing of the population. However, there have been slight increases in the number of deaths over the last couple of years, due to the ­increase in and ageing of the population.”

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of early diagnosis, said: “This data highlights just how much more needs to be done to improve the outlook for patients.

“We also need to see a continued commitment to preventing and diagnosing more cancers early.”

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