Number of years Scots can expect to live in good health falls

Between 2018 and 2020, the average healthy life expectancy for men was 60.9 years, while women live an average of 61.8 years in good health, according to the National Records Scotland (NRS).

Healthy life expectancy for the Scots has declined over the last four years for women and the last three for men.

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NRS statistician Maria Kaye-Bardgett said: “These numbers continue a trend we’ve seen in recent years with healthy life expectancies falling for men and women.”

An old man, as new figures reveal that healthy life expectancy for Scots has fallen over the last four years for women and the last three for men. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Healthy life expectancy is an estimate of the number of years lived in “very good” or “good” general health, based on how people perceive their health status at the time of the annual population survey.

In 2017-2019, men expected to live 61.7 years in good health, which means there has been a drop of 39 weeks in the latest data.

And for women, figures from 2017-2019 show that they would have expected good health for 61.9 years, meaning there was an eight-week drop.

According to research, the most disadvantaged communities spend an average of 24 fewer years in good health than those living in the least disadvantaged areas.

Those who live in the poorest areas are also dying younger, the NRS said, spending more than a third of their lives in poor health.

Orkney was the area with the highest healthy life expectancy for both men and women, at 71.2 years and 77.5 years.

In North Ayrshire, women would live in good health for only 54 years, while men in Inverclyde would live in good health for 54.4 years.

Ms Kaye-Bardgett said: “Healthy life expectancy is a key measure of health and well-being in Scotland. These figures are useful to those planning services to meet people’s needs.”

The new research, which looks at Scotland between 2018 and 2020, showed that people in the wealthiest parts of Scotland lived around 15 per cent of their lives in poor health.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, a health spokesman for the Scottish Conservative, said the latest figures “are irrefutable proof of the impact that mismanagement of the SNP has had over the years on the Scottish people.”

“The responsibility lies with Humza Yousaf (the Scottish health secretary) who must act urgently to stop the deterioration of the nation’s health,” he said.

Labor MP Jackie Baille, the party’s health spokeswoman, described the latest figures as a “grim set of statistics, following a historic drop in life expectancy last year”.

And the drop was criticized by Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who said he was deeply saddened to think that people are enjoying fewer years of healthy life than before.

The Scottish Government said it was “continuing our work to increase healthy life expectancy in Scotland by implementing our bold package of measures to tackle key problems such as smoking, obesity, inactivity and alcohol abuse.”

“We are also taking a place-based approach to improving local health, supporting joint work between the general public and third sectors to improve health and well-being and reduce inequalities,” the spokesperson said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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