The inquiry found that structural inequalities could be tackled by:
- Developing an overarching strategy to guide policymaking and encourage cross portfolio collaboration at all levels of Government
- Ensuring that health and social care services take a preventative approach to health inequalities, especially by focusing on children
- Utilising lived experience when designing services and ensuring a person-centred approach
- Investment towards increasing staffing levels
- Focus on workforce training on issues around health inequalities
In response to the recommendations, RCPCH Officer for Scotland, Mairi Stark said:
The report by the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is a welcome added voice in calls for urgent action to tackle health inequalities, and poverty in Scotland. We’re pleased to see that a number of our recommendations that we provided to the committee have been reflected in the report, including keeping the needs of children and young people at the centre of decision making and future policies. The power of prevention cannot be understated, the battle with inequality is often won or lost during childhood.
In an affluent society such as ours it is wholly unacceptable for children and their families to lack food, shelter, clothing and fuel. It’s good to see the committee has included cross-government recommendations to tackle these issues. Furthermore, the present cost-of-living crisis this winter has created a perfect storm where health inequalities are predicted to get far worse. This will without a doubt destroy the lives of children and young people, it will take away opportunities and stop them reaching their full potential. We now ask the Scottish Government to take forward the recommendations of this report and commit to tackling child health inequalities and poverty at all levels of Government.