Covid inquiry: Health of children in Scotland 'amongst lowest in Europe'

Research commissioned in the inquiry has said the pandemic has worsened poor health in young people.

Covid inquiry: Health of children in Scotland ‘amongst lowest in Europe’ iStock

Research commissioned by the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has found that the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland is “amongst some of the lowest in Europe“.

The report, produced by The University of Edinburgh, looked into the delivery of education and certification during the pandemic, and the impact this played on children and young people.

Research from the inquiry found that the impact of Covid contributed to mental health difficulties, which has in turn exacerbated “increasing trends in poor physical health” and has produced a “setback for children in Scotland”.

The report read: “Latest evidence shows that the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland is amongst some of the lowest in Europe.

“Physical health issues contribute to high prevalence of mental health difficulties experienced by young people.

“The evidence reviewed in this study indicates that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent institutional restrictions, represent a setback for children and young people in Scotland.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to mental health difficulties experienced, and mitigations that followed may have exacerbated already increasing trends in poor physical health and mental ill-health.

“Current challenges include a lack of training, resources and support in schools for health and well being.”

The conclusion from the findings has said there is an “urgent need” for the Scottish Government to consider ways in the education system to “support change” towards the health of young people in the country.

It read: “Addressing poverty can therefore have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people and can support academic and economic prosperity.

“It is likely that some impacts, not yet visible, may be far reaching and long term.

“However, we also know that education, as a universal service, remains the most effective means available to improve life chances for children and young people.

“There is an urgent need for the Scottish Government to consider the intertwined factors of physical health and mental health issues within the health and wellbeing of children and young people and consider ways in which we can support change.”

It comes after the findings from the inquiry, led by Lady Poole Q, questioned the “legal basis” on the “severe restrictions” imposed on care homes during the pandemic.

The research also found that the Scottish Government was “caught-out” by the speed of the virus’ transmission and was forced to alter plans – which did not consider the most “vulnerable” of the population.

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