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Quality Measurement Framework

Premature Mortality

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Premature Mortality

The Premature Mortality quality outcome indicator is based on the age-standardised mortality rate (using the 2013 European Standard Population) per 100,000 for people aged under 75 in Scotland.  A decrease in this outcome indicator over time should demonstrate an improvement in the health status of the population as a whole.

European Age-Standardised mortality rates are calculated by applying the age-specific rates for Scotland to the European Standard Population and expressed per 100,000 persons per year.  It follows a standard methodology which was updated in 2013, allowing for comparisons between countries and over time.  Figures under the new 2013 European Standard Population are not comparable with those calculated under the 1976 European Standard Population, but trend data have been backdated to allow comparisons over time to be made using the new methodology.  Further information on the ESP methodology is available on the National Records of Scotland website.

Indicator Update

In 2015, the European age-standardised mortality rate (using the 2013 European Standard Population) among those aged under 75 in Scotland was 440.5 per 100,000, an increase of 4% over the last year and a decrease of 17% over the last 10 years.

Scotland has the highest rates of premature mortality in the UK.  More than 20,000 people aged under 75 still die each year, with a disproportionate number of these in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

Source: latest results published by National Records for Scotland (refer to Table 2: Under 75s age-standardised death rates for all causes and certain selected causes, Scotland, 1994 to 2015).

Work that should result in improvement in this indicator

Delivering significant and sustainable improvements in health requires a focus on the underlying causes of poor health and inequalities. Poor health is not simply due to diet, smoking or other life style choices, but also the result of other factors such as people's aspirations, sense of control and cultural factors.

Ensuring children have the best start in life, tackling poverty, reducing unemployment, promoting mental wellbeing, increasing educational attainment and improving poor physical and social environments will, therefore, all contribute to reducing premature mortality.

This needs to be complemented by specific action on the "big killer" diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer where some of the risk factors, such as smoking, are strongly linked to deprivation, as well as addressing drug and alcohol problems and links to violence that affect younger men in particular.

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