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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 11:53 GMT
Health figures make grim reading
The gap is widening between deprived and affluent areas
Scotland's poorest areas run the risk of "being left behind" in the drive to improve the nation's health, NHS Scotland has warned.

Dr Laurence Gruer said statistics for the last 10 years to 2001 highlighted worrying inequalities.

Annual death rates from heart disease, stroke and all cancers have fallen by 35%, 27.5% and 8.5% respectively in the last decade.

But Glasgow in particular is lagging behind the rest of the country.

The statistics for the parliamentary constituencies cover life expectancy, ill-health and lifestyle trends such as smoking and drinking to local crime, employment and income levels.

Dr Gruer said: "These improvements in Scotland aren't equally distributed, they tend to be in more affluent areas and that is tending to widen inequalities."

Cancer mortality rates remain just over a third higher than the national average in Glasgow's Shettleston and Maryhill areas, according to statistics.

We will target action in the most deprived areas in an attempt to close the opportunity gap between the poorest and most affluent
Tom McCabe
Deputy Health Minister
"We are facing a big challenge, because in a number of ways it's often easier to achieve improvements in the more affluent part of the population," Dr Gruer added.

"That can then feed through so that overall the population looks as though it's actually getting healthier, but you can have parts of the population that have been left behind."

The statistics show that heart disease mortality rates are highest in Glasgow Maryhill at 183 per 100,000 of the population and lowest in Edinburgh West at 85 per 100,000.

Workless households

Thirty nine percent of pregnant women smoke in Glasgow Anniesland, compared with 13% in Eastwood.

The profiles show that the lowest average household income is found in Shettleston at 17,170.

This is a third less than the Scottish average of 25,873 and significantly less than that of Eastwood, the wealthiest constituency with an average of 32,862.

In Shettleston, 46.1% of children live in workless households, while two neighbouring constituencies, Maryhill with 44.1% and Springburn at 42.5%, face similar problems.

First Minister Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell described the figures as "unacceptable"

The average Scottish male life expectancy has risen by three years in the last 10 years to 73, but has fallen in both Shettleston and Springburn to 64 and 66, respectively.

These statistics contrast sharply with the highest in North East Fife of 77 and 76 in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

First Minister Jack McConnell said the figures were "completely unacceptable" but the executive was committed to funding health improvements.

Deputy Health Minister Tom McCabe said there was "no quick fix" after long-term neglect of health problems.

He added: "We will target action in the most deprived areas in an attempt to close the opportunity gap between the poorest and most affluent."

City lifespan gap almost doubles
12 Mar 04  |  Scotland

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