The strange case of Scotland's missing improvements

(Nov 15, 2014)

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend a New Scientist: Live presentation given by Sir Harry Burns entitled "Making Scotland Well Again", which was an examination of the links between social conditions and incidence of disease. We've written about mortality in Scotland before, but from his diverse roles including consultant surgeon, Glasgow's director of public health and former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Harry Burns has unique insight into the matter.

A core aspect of the situation for Burns is its relative recency. He reflected upon the fact that Scottish life expectancy sat around the Western European average until just after World War II. After that time, Scottish mortality simply…

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Tags: mortality, longevity, Scotland, Glasgow

A Tale of Three Cities

(Oct 14, 2013)

Given my birthplace, I have a more than casual interest in the causes of excess mortality experienced by Scots beyond that explicable by deprivation alone. The phenomenon of a 30% excess in premature mortality and a 15% excess in general mortality appears most concentrated in the west of the country, to the extent of even being dubbed in some quarters the Glasgow effect.

The nub of the issue can be seen by comparing the mortality in Glasgow to two cities with comparable levels of deprivation - specifically Liverpool and Manchester:

It is worth noting that the direct sources of the excess mortality are fairly well understood - according to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health the hunt is on for the underlying…

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Tags: mortality, longevity, Scotland, Glasgow

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