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

Our report out today shows the importance of action to address the fundamental causes of poor and unequal health in Scotland.

We found that actions that redistribute income (a fundamental cause of poor health and health inequalities) are likely to result in the biggest improvements in population health and reductions in health inequalities. 

We also found that actions that mitigate the impact of exposure to the things that harm our health are significant, but that doing more of these actions (as opposed to actions to undo health inequalities, or prevent them happening in the first place) could have a limited population impact, unless they are targeted carefully. 

Importantly, the study shows that it is necessary to intervene using a combination of actions that undo, prevent and mitigate health inequalities if we are to improve health and tackle health inequalities. The tool we used to make the comparisons – the Informing Interventions to reduce health Inequalities (Triple I) tool – can help decision makers across Scotland target the resources they have on the things that will have the biggest impact.

Andrew Pulford, Public Health Intelligence Adviser at NHS Health Scotland, and the report’s lead author said:

“Health inequalities persist in Scotland, they are unjust but they are not inevitable. Their causes are complex – but we have a good understanding of the range of actions required to reduce them and improve health.  For policy makers, knowing where to focus energy and resources to do this is crucial. 

“Our report shows the potential of the tool to help find the right solution, in the right context. By comparing a whole host of interventions, we show the breadth of actions that can effect the change we need, and the potential scale of their impact on the health of Scotland’s people.”

Find out more

For more information on the Triple I tool, visit our Informing Interventions to reduce heath inequalities (Triple I ) section.