More than a quarter of deaths in Scotland in 2019 were 'avoidable'

More than a quarter of deaths in Scotland in 2019 were avoidable, according to statistics released by National Records of Scotland.
There were 15,519 deaths in 2019 which were classed as avoidable.There were 15,519 deaths in 2019 which were classed as avoidable.
There were 15,519 deaths in 2019 which were classed as avoidable.

In 2019 there were 15,519 deaths which NRS considers could have been prevented by effective and on-time healthcare interventions.

The data does not cover the Covid-19 pandemic.

The most common causes of avoidable deaths were cancer and circulatory diseases, which accounted 34 per cent and 25 per cent of avoidable deaths respectively.

Alcohol and drug related disorders were also a major cause.

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After adjusting for age, avoidable mortality rates in the most deprived areas were 4.5 times those in the least deprived areas.

The highest rates of avoidable deaths were in Glasgow City, Dundee City and Inverclyde.

The lowest rates were in East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and Shetland.

In Glasgow in the period 2017-2019 there were 459 avoidable deaths per 100,000 population, while in East Renfrewshire there were 198.

In Edinburgh there were 269 avoidable deaths per 100,000.

There are many more avoidable deaths among men.

Avoidable deaths are split into two categories – ‘preventable’ deaths, which could be mainly avoided by effective public health and primary prevention interventions before the disease begins, and ‘treatable’ deaths, which could be avoided by secondary prevention and treatment after onset.

In 2019 around 10,600 deaths were considered preventable, while 4,900 were treatable.

There were 58,108 total deaths in Scotland in 2019.

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Alcohol and drug related deaths are considered preventable rather than treatable.

It comes after alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland fell ten per cent in 2019 to 1,020, showing a “notable” decrease, according to NRS.

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Pete Whitehouse, Director of Statistical Services said “The avoidable mortality rate has decreased by a third since 2001 however there has been very little change over the last 5 years.

"It is also true that whilst avoidable mortality rates have improved across Scotland since 2001, the scale of improvement has been smaller in our more deprived communities.”

Cancer charities have warned that ‘unnecessary deaths’ due to the disease could rise as a result of diagnosis and treatment backlogs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cancer diagnoses confirmed by a tissue sample fell by around 4,000 between March and June 2020 compared to the previous year.

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