CMO Annual Report 2020- 2021

28 Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Annual Report 2020 -2021 REDUCING HEALTH INEQUALITIES In December, Professor Sir Michael Marmot published Build Back Fairer : his review on how the pandemic has affected health inequalities in England. His report highlights that: ■ the pre-existing socio-economic inequalities in our society led to the disproportionately high number of deaths from COVID-19 in our disadvantaged communities; ■ as we recover from the pandemic our nation’s health must be the government’s top priority; ■ strong links exist between the economy and population health; it is, therefore, important that we create a more sustainable economy as we recover from the pandemic; ■ to reduce health inequalities and build back fairer from the pandemic, multi-sector action from all levels of government is needed and we must create long-term policies which support equity; ■ investment in public health is vital to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health and health inequalities. It is a comprehensive and sobering report and all of the above points apply equally here in Scotland. 62 We urgently need to address our health inequalities here in Scotland, which are the worst in western and central Europe. 63 The difference in life expectancy between the most and least deprived ten percent of areas in Scotland is alarming - approximately 10 years for females and 13 years for males. 64 Our premature mortality rates have worsened in our most disadvantaged communities, and inequalities in premature mortality have increased since 2012. 1 Figure 1 - Trends in mortality rates aged under 75 years by income-employment deprivation deciles, Scotland, 1997-2019 (Source: SG long-term monitoring of health inequalities, 2021 1)