Double the number of babies from poor areas require urgent care compared to wealthy
In the year ending March 31, 2022, 1,182 babies considered to be from the most deprived areas needed treatment such as intensive care or admission to a high dependency unit. Over the same period, just 645 from the least deprived 20 per cent required the same care.
The figures were published by Public Health Scotland, and showed that of 47,249 births in Scotland last year, 4,349 needed extra care from birth. However, analysis of the deprivation scale shows the poorer the area the baby was from, the more likely they were to require that intervention.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Health inequalities exist at every stage of life, but it’s particularly shocking to see how they can impact from before a child is born. People will find it distressing that so many of these babies need that urgent intervention purely because of where they are from.
“The Scottish Government controls the NHS and has considerable powers to alleviate poverty, and has done ever since the creation of the Scottish Parliament. It is issues such as these that ministers should be focusing on and finding solutions to, rather than continuously distracting themselves with their campaign to break up the country.”
Figures show persistent health inequalities between the most and least deprived areas of Scotland across a range of health indicators.
Earlier this year it emerged the gap in healthy life expectancy for males had increased from 22.5 years in 2013-2015 to 23.7 years in 2018-2020. The gap in premature mortality rates had increased to its highest point since 2004. However, in other areas, such as heart attack hospital admissions and alcohol-specific deaths, the gap had narrowed.
Meanwhile, figures for 2021 showed people in the most deprived areas of Scotland were more than 15 times as likely to die of drug misuse than those in the least deprived areas. This ratio has widened over the past two decades.
The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.
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