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MSPs to hear evidence on how Covid-19 pandemic affected health inequalities

The parliamentary inquiry will hear how the Covid-19 pandemic affected health inequalities (Victoria Jones/PA)
The parliamentary inquiry will hear how the Covid-19 pandemic affected health inequalities (Victoria Jones/PA)

MSPs are to hear evidence on how the coronavirus pandemic and poverty have affected Scotland’s health inequalities.

The Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee will hear from experts in its first evidence session into the issue on Tuesday.

The parliamentary inquiry aims to outline the progress towards tackling health inequalities across the country since the previous committee’s report, published in 2015.

It will take into consideration the Covid-19 pandemic and hear about the virus’s impact on inequalities, as well as how they can be addressed.

The committee seeks to ensure the Scottish Parliament maintains a focus on health inequalities and will hear from experts on how social and economic factors have affected the health of individuals.

Speaking ahead of the session, committee convener Gillian Martin said: “Scotland’s health inequalities reach deep into almost every aspect of our society and are impacted by a range of social and economic factors and other societal inequalities, such as poverty.

“Our inquiry will look at what progress, if any, has been made to tackling Scotland’s health inequalities since our predecessor’s report in 2015.

“We are focused upon finding out how best to get to the root of these health inequalities, what preventative work could help tackle them and how recent shocks such as the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are impacting them.

“We want to ensure our recommendations to the Scottish Government and other key decision-makers help to inspire targeted and effective interventions which can help alleviate these inequalities.”

Those giving evidence to the committee include David Finch, assistant director of Healthy Lives at the Health Foundation, and Gerry McCartney, Glasgow University professor of wellbeing economy.

Claire Steven, chief executive of Voluntary Health Scotland, and David Walsh, public health programme manager at Glasgow Centre for Population Health, will also provide insight to the committee.

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