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Causes of Death Statistics For Scotland

2nd August 2012

Scotland's Public Health Minister has welcomed figures published today on the causes of death in Scotland.

The figures, published by the Registrar General, show that:

Between 2010 and 2011 C. diff-related deaths have fallen by 37 per cent, while total MRSA-related deaths have fallen by 47 per cent.

The percentage of deaths caused by coronary heart disease has fallen from 29 per cent in 1980-1982 to 14 per cent in 2011.

The percentage of deaths caused by stroke has fallen from 14 per cent to 9 per cent

The percentage of deaths caused by cancer has risen from 22 per cent in 1980 - 1982 to 29 per cent in 2011

In 2011 there were 1,247 deaths where alcohol was the underlying cause, a decrease of five per cent compared with 1,318 in 2010.

Commenting on the healthcare associated infections figures, Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said:

"Today's figures show the efforts of NHS staff to drive down infection rates are paying off.

"It's vital that patients have confidence in the quality of care and treatment they will receive if they need to go into hospital and this confidence should not be undermined by the fear of contracting an infection.

"While we have made significant progress in this area, there is always more to be done, and staff, patients and visitors all have a role to play in making sure good standards of cleanliness and hand hygiene are maintained as we continue our drive to reduce these infections."

Commenting on the 'big three' Mr Matheson said:"We are committed to improving the health of the nation and these latest figures show that our strategy for improving outcomes for those with heart disease, stroke and cancer is continuing to deliver real results for the people of Scotland.

"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of NHS staff the number of deaths from stroke and coronary heart disease continue to fall. We not only aim to provide the best possible care in acute settings, but also in helping people's longer-term recovery in their own communities.

"We know that one of the reasons cancer survival is poorer in Scotland is the fact that patients can neglect symptoms and, by the time they are diagnosed, their cancers are less likely to respond to the treatments available.

"Our Detect Cancer Early programme is intended to ensure that people with symptoms are encouraged to seek help at an early stage in their disease. By ensuring people get early and appropriate investigation and treatment at an early stage, cancer survival will be improved.

"We know that more needs to be done to improve outcomes for these diseases and that future improvements also depend on people's lifestyle choices - eating better, being more active, stopping smoking and drinking sensibly will all help to reduce the incidence of these diseases. We are taking firm action in all these areas to support people to live healthier lives."

On alcohol related deaths Mr Matheson said:

"I welcome this decrease in alcohol-related deaths. We must not, however, lose sight of the fact that the statistics are still at a high level and the Scottish Government will continue to pursue bold measures to address alcohol misuse.

"Our banning of quantity discounts and restricting promotions in off-sales, which took effect during 2011, forms part of these measures, however the key measure is minimum pricing. We believe this is the most effective and efficient way of reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms, including deaths. We firmly believe minimum pricing meets the legal tests required and will vigorously defend the legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association.

"Minimum pricing, alongside the package of 40 measures included in the alcohol framework, can help us to redress the balance when it comes to our unhealthy relationship with alcohol."

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