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 Health Inequalities  

30/04/2013   |  Argyll & Bute; North & West Highland; South & Mid Highland; Raigmore 

Closing the Gap

The Closing the Gap Conference on 30th April 2013 was jointly organised by Highland Council and NHS Highland in order to raise awareness of health inequalities in Highland; the potential for using an asset based and wellbeing approach to address these, and to showcase the wide range of third sector initiatives already going on.

Health inequalities are preventable and unjust differences in health status experienced by certain population groups. People in lower socio-economic groups are more likely to experience chronic ill-health and die earlier than those who are more advantaged. Health inequalities are not only apparent between people of different socio-economic groups – they exist between different genders and different ethnic groups.

Health inequalities are often observed along a social gradient. This means that the more favourable your social circumstances such as income or education, the better your chance of enjoying good health and a longer life.

The causes of health inequality are complex but they do not arise by chance.  The social, economic and environmental conditions in which we live strongly influence health. These conditions are known as the social determinants of health, and are largely the results of public policy.
The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Sir Harry Burns
entertained and informed the crowd of over 400 with a lecture designed to understand the link between ill health and social status.

Below are the links to videos of his speech in its entirety.

PART 1 -

PART 2 -

PART 3 -


Short films of local asset based approaches to improving health.

Green Gym :

North Coast Connection :

Rag, Tag and Textile :


Background Reference Reading:-

Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN) UK Welfare Reform: Final Guidance for NHS Boards in Scotland on mitigating actions

Asset Based Consulting – Trevor Hopkins.  Trevor's website Asset Based Consulting - with links under Resources to paper ‘A Glass Half Full’ (2010) and follow up paper  ‘What makes us healthy’ (2012).  A number of other references highlighted on the site may also be of interest.

Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) – Asset Based Approaches For Health Improvement: redressing the balance

GCPH briefing paper - Putting asset based approaches into action: identification, mobilisation and measurement of assets

The full report of the GCPH’s case study research – Assets in Action: Illustrating Asset Based Approaches for Health Improvement 


What would it take to eradicate health inequalities in Scotland?

ScotPHO released a paper in October 2013 reporting how Scotland's inequalities gap can only be tackled if there are efforts to reduce differences in income, resources and power across society. To view the paper, visit the NHS Health Scotland website.

For more information or to order a copy of the book visit the SRN website.