Doctors diagnose 20 years of failure to improve health of city's poorest

A 20-year failure to address health inequalities has left pockets of deprivation in Glasgow suffering.

Loading Comments
Glasgow GPs have called for more health resources to be targeted at deprived areas
Glasgow GPs have called for more health resources to be targeted at deprived areas

People in poorer areas are not seeing the benefit of health improvements, a group of Glasgow doctors will tell MSPs.

The city GPs claim extra cash and more doctors and nurses need to be targeted at deprived areas if health inequalities are to be tackled effectively.

While health in the city is improving, the people suffering the poorest health in the most deprived areas are not getting healthier as fast as others, meaning – it is argued – that the gap is widening.

MSPs will hear from GPs at the Deep End, a group of doctors representing hundreds of surgeries across Scotland, who have warned the current model of healthcare is not doing enough to make a difference.

HE continued: "As a GP, my view is everyone's health is improving, but the better off are improving more quickly so the gap is getting much wider.

"In an area like Drumchapel a man starts to fall ill in his 50s, whereas it's about 18 years later in the more better-off areas.

"The reason health is improving is we have better interventions, but the ability to take advantage of that is more so with people who don't have other health problems.

"We need to configure the health service to where the illnesses are.

"Our report says health services needs to be at their best where they are needed most."

An "inverse care law" is in place in Scotland according to Deep End.

The report states: "The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served.

"It is recognised that many health improvement initiatives may have widened inequalities in health as a result of differential uptake by different social groups."

The GPs said a study showed there are more GPs and health professionals working in affluent areas, more able to deliver health initiatives and have more time with patients, who are generally healthier to begin with.

In poorer areas there are multiple illness problems and GPs have little time for anything other than the daily workload.

A study showed there are more GPs in the least deprives areas than in the most deprived, despite their being more practices.

Professor Watt said: "In the most deprived areas people stop being healthy and start accumulating problems around 10-15 years earlier than in the least deprived.

"The NHS is going to face this problem increasingly in the future as the population gets older.

"The system is not geared up for this multi-morbidity.

"In the most deprived areas GPs run out of time to deal with the problems and they are frustrated and the patients short-changed. It is not just more GPs but extra time which is needed."

People are getting healthier, but there has been no narrowing of the life expectancy gap between richest and poorest. It is still 13 years for men, but the difference from when ill health starts is 19 years.

Professor Watt said GPs were supportive of the early intervention strategy, focusing on early years, but warned it would take three to four decades to show results.

He added: "The question is, what do we do about health inequalities now?

"How do we help people live better and longer with multiple problems."


Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email
Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You Couldn't Make This Up

Tea leaf reading had me in a spin




Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.

A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

When a dog is not a dog. I go vegan in the city.

Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.