This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

NHS Health Scotland recognises the severe effect poverty has on health and that’s why we’re proud to support Challenge Poverty Week. The campaign, led by The Poverty Alliance, is an opportunity to showcase solutions for poverty, and thus addressing a key driver of health inequalities in Scotland.

We know that poverty can affect anyone. Unexpected events in life can create circumstances that are difficult to change or escape, trapping people in poverty. This takes a toll on health as pockets are empty, needs go unmet and the overwhelming stress of insecurity prevents participation in society. But we all have a human right to good health, regardless of socio-economic status, to be as healthy as we can be.

Gerry McLaughlin, CEO at NHS Health Scotland said:

“Scotland has the potential to be a place where everyone has a fair chance to live a secure, healthy and long life. But right now, too many people – including those from working households – are struggling to stay warm, eat well and afford basic essentials for their children and their health suffers the consequences. As an organisation committed to reducing health inequalities in Scotland, these levels of poverty are a real concern. So I say, aye we can challenge poverty, but the reality is that we must tackle it to ensure that everyone achieves a decent standard of living and the highest attainable standard of health. 


“Through research we have done, we know that health in our poorest areas is affected the most, and is reflected in an unwarranted lower life expectancy. This is often because of a higher risk of obesity, alcohol and drug-related harm, poor housing conditions and rising costs of living. It cannot be right that how long we live and the quality of our health is affected by such things, especially for people already scraping by. However, the research also tells us that focusing on prevention and creating policy that boosts incomes and increases the value of benefits can influence health for the better and address poverty at the same time. 

“We must seize opportunities to work together across all sectors to take action to improve services, provide adequate housing and ensure everyone has the income they need to live longer, healthier lives. These are crucial for solving poverty and realising Scotland’s public health priorities to create a fairer, healthier Scotland.”


Join us in supporting Challenge Poverty Week. 

To find out more about poverty and the primary causes of health inequalities in Scotland, see the Fundamental causes section of our website.