Dame Jackie Baillie and Health Secretary Michael Matheson.

By Bill Heaney

Urgent action must be taken to improve health outcomes which will result in local people living longer than they do at present.

Dame Jackie Baillie has urged that more action is required as new statistics reveal life expectancy is decreasing in Scotland with West Dunbartonshire recording the second lowest figure in the country.

In 2020-2022, life expectancy in West Dunbartonshire was 73.18 years for men and 78.43 years for women.

This is a sharp decrease of almost a year for males and 20 weeks for females since 2018-2020.

In Argyll and Bute – that includes Cardross, Helensburgh, parts of Loch Lomondside and the Rosneath Peninsula – life expectancy was significantly higher than in West Dunbartonshire at 77.67 years for males and 81.84 for females.

However, this figure was a reduction for males from 78.01 and for females from 81.57 from 2018-2020.

Dame Jackie has urged the SNP to take immediate and drastic action to reverse this trend, starting with tackling the cost of living crisis and chaos in Scotland’s NHS.

She said: “These damning figures lay bare the fact that SNP and Tory incompetence is costing lives.

“Scots are stuck in a twin crises with the cost of living and chaos in our NHS, and it is having a devastating impact on the nation’s health.

“The picture in West Dunbartonshire is incredibly bleak with Glasgow the only council area in the country reporting a lower life expectancy.

“After 16 years of the SNP and 13 years of the Tories in government, both parties are failing Scots in the areas where it matters most.

“Health Secretary Michael Matheson must take immediate action to ensure that these worrying figures do not become an even more worrying trend.

“Scottish Labour will deliver the change that Scotland needs to increase life expectancy by investing in primary care, investing in public health measures and ending long wait times.”

Key Findings – Scotland-wide:

  • Life expectancy in Scotland was 76.5 years for males and 80.7 years for females in 2020-2022
  • It has decreased by 3 weeks for males and 5.7 weeks for females since 2019-2021

When You Are Old


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

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