Chief Medical Officer indicates social care pressures may be behind static life expectancy


Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said that the Scottish Government needs to urgently relieve the pressure on health and social care services after the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report signalled this could be contributing to life expectancy improvement grinding to a halt.

The report warns:

  • Mortality in Scotland has hardly improved in the last 5 years, a situation “almost unprecedented since the Second World War”, and that there is some evidence that pressures on health and social care may be contributing to this trend.
  • Scotland has the third highest prematurity rate among in single babies among 22 countries - behind only Romania and Greece – with risk factors including maternal obesity and smoking in pregnancy still “relatively common in Scotland compared to other countries”. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

“The Government need to urgently relieve the pressure on health and social care services. I have found people stuck in hospital for up to 600 days after doctors declared them ready to leave because community care packages simply aren’t available. That kind of experience has a devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health.

“The last thing social care services need is Brexit cutting off valuable staff or independence which the Growth Commission showed would necessitate turbo charged austerity.

“Maternal obesity and smoking in pregnancy are still far too common. Babies don't just arrive by stork, they arrive with the help of hardworking professionals. If the Scottish Government are serious about ensuring new born babies get the best possible start in life, they need to act to ensure that support for parents and midwives is there when it is needed."

Ends

Notes to editors:

The report is available here.


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