A Scottish government Health and Social care report has shown that the gap in health outcomes between the most and least deprived areas is Scotland persist to be ‘significant’, despite welcome improvements in some areas.

The annual report covers all factors such as birthweight, long-term conditions, cancer and alcohol related illnesses, and shows that with the exception of the healthy birthweight indicator, significant inequalities are still a reality for each category covered in the report, despite some gaps having narrowed over the years.

The data shows that the mortality rate for premature deaths before the age of 75 is as much as four times higher in the most deprived areas, and the gap between the rate of deaths from cancer, heart disease and alcohol abuse is unfortunately continuing to grow.

Fortunately however, the gap in mental wellbeing amongst adults living in the most deprived and least deprived areas has continued to decrease, following the trend of the last the last five years. Despite this, adults in the least affluent areas are still three times more likely to have below average wellbeing than those living less deprived lifestyles.

Also improving, the data shows that the divide in cancer deaths has fallen by 22% since its widest point in 1998, and while the gap for alcohol-related deaths has risen in each of the past five years, it is still currently 30% lower than at its peak in 2002.

“These statistics should leave us in absolutely no doubt that stark and unacceptable health inequalities persist across Scotland," said Lewis Morrison, chairman of BMA Scotland.

"The significantly worse health of those who live in our most deprived areas compared to the substantially better outcomes for those who live in the least deprived areas is a persistent, substantial issue that simply cannot be ignored.”