MSPs Siobhian Brown and Sharon Dowey agree that more has to be done to improve life expectancy stats for South Ayrshire.

A recent publication by the National Records of Scotland revealed that South Ayrshire is experiencing some of the biggest decreases in life expectancy across Scotland.

This is based on the most recent figures covering the period for 2018-2020.

Male life expectancy has decreased from 77.28 to 76.65, while female life expectancy has dropped from 81.64 to 81.14 over the same period.

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Sharon Dowey believes that health must be at the top of the agenda:

She said: “It’s really worrying that South Ayrshire has experienced such a significant drop in life expectancy since 2017-2019. With life expectancy dropping by over half a year for men, the Scottish Government must do more to tackle the root problem of this decrease.

“The SNP Government need to put health at the top of their agenda. It’s clear that the SNP are turning a blind-eye to the health of Scottish people, with ambulance and A&E waiting times at an all-time high. This new data on life expectancy adds to the SNPs poor record on health, confirming it is simply not a priority of this government.

“Work needs to be done here, considering that Scotland now has the lowest life expectancy at birth across all UK countries.”

Whilst agreeing about the need for more to be done, SNP MSP Siobhian Brown believes that past decisions have not helped these stats.

She said: “More action is needed to improve the long-term health and increase life expectancy across my constituency but Mrs Dowey fails to acknowledge that a decade’s worth of Tory cuts, damaging policy and austerity have done little to improve the lives of the poorest.

“The Scottish Tories supported their Westminster colleagues in the recent cuts to Universal Credit, with a blatant disregard for how that would affect life expectancy. State pensions are the worst in Europe and the pension age is rising. Then there’s the National Insurance hike. Our poorest are facing a harsh winter and we know for many, including pensioners, it will be a choice between heating and eating.

“The Scottish Government is looking at long term strategies to increase life expectancy. We are leading the way on health policy and have been for some time with the smoking ban, minimum alcohol pricing, the Good Food Nation bill and record funding of £300m for health and care this winter.

“It’s a sad fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected life expectancy and we must remember that each one of these ‘statistics’ is a person who is loved and missed by their family and friends. It will be some time before we know whether the pandemic has had a long-term effect on mortality.”