A damning report from NHS Health Scotland, which has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, warns that austerity and welfare changes are worsening the nations health and causing excess mortality.
The report, titled ‘Working and hurting? Monitoring the health and health inequalities impacts of the economic downturn and changes to the social security system’, highlights positive impacts on the nation’s health such as rising employment and fewer benefit sanctions.
However, the report also warns that these positive indicators have been undermined by damaging Government austerity measures introduced since 2010, including cruel cuts to social security benefits.
These have caused “rises in child poverty, stagnation or even reversal in previously declining mortality from some causes of death and lack of improvement in adult mental health”, says NHS Health Scotland.
The investigation into mortality trends and causes of deaths found that the economic downturn, followed by harsh austerity measures and benefit changes/cuts have contributed to “a substantial excess mortality after 2010 in Scotland among some groups of the population, especially men, and people in the 50-74 and 85–89 age group”.
Commenting on the report’s findings, lead author Martin Taulbut said: “Since 2010, we have seen falls in the number of children and adults living in workless households, and rising employment rates among groups specifically targeted by UK welfare reform.
“However, the anticipated wider gains have either failed to materialise (working-age poverty, positive mental wellbeing) or are moving in the wrong direction (e.g. child poverty, mental health problems for young adults).”
“From the current data, we are unable to reject austerity and welfare reform as contributing to the change in mortality.
“Governments and public agencies have a shared responsibility to better understand the reasons for the worrying trends we are seeing, and NHS Health Scotland and partner organisations will continue to review this in 2018/19.”