Scottish ministers have been accused of a “damning” failure in healthcare after average life expectancy in Scotland fell for the third year in a row.

The National Records of Scotland reported provisional life expectancy at birth was 76.5 years for males and 80.7 years for females in 2020-22.

That was a three week fall for males and a 5.7 week fall for females from 2019-2021.

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Scottish Labour and the Tories demanded SNP Health Secretary Michael Matheson prevent further decline.

It followed decreases of 17.9 and 11.4 weeks in 2018-20 and 2019-21 respectively for men, bringing the total decrease since 2017-19 to 32.3 weeks for males, almost eight months.

Females saw falls in life expectancy of 7.9 weeks in both 2018-20 and 2019-21, meaning a total decrease of 21.5 weeks over the three estimating periods.

Most of Scotland’s council areas have seen a fall in life expectancy over recent years.

The gap between affluent and deprived council areas remains stark, with men in East Dunbartonshire living seven years longer on average than in neighbouring Glasgow.

Life expectancy was highest in East Renfrewshire for females (84 years) and East Dunbartonshire for males (79.9 years).

It was lowest in Glasgow for both males (72.9) and females (78.2) in 2020-2022

Life expectancy at birth rose in Scotland between the early 1980s and early 2010s.

However that trend changed in 2012-2014 when it began to plateau instead.

Since 2018-2020, life expectancy has fallen each year.  

Life expectancy for those surviving to 65 has followed a similar trajectory.

In 2020-22, a male who reaches 65 can expect to live another 17.3 years on average, while life expectancy for a female is another 19.6 years.

This was a decrease of five weeks for females and almost six for males since 2019-21.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showsimilar patterns across the UK, although life expectancy in Scotland was the lowest of the four nations.

In 2018-2020, it was 79.3 years for males and 83.1 years for females in England, 76.8 years for males and 81 years for females in Scotland, 78.3 years for males and 82.1 years for females in Wales, and 78.7 years for males and 82.4 years for females in Northern Ireland.

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “These deeply concerning statistics have Humza Yousaf’s fingerprints all over them. His overwhelming failures during his time as health secretary means life expectancy has fallen for the third year in a row in Scotland.

“While deaths from the Covid pandemic must be taken into account in relation to life expectancy across the UK, SNP ministers cannot hide behind that excuse given life expectancy had already started falling in Scotland before the virus struck.” 

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Scottish Labour deputy Jackie Baillie 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.

“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.”

The Scottish Government said it was an “unwelcome reality” that different communities experienced health, quality of life and life expectancy differently.

A spokesman said the Government was taking action to reduce health inequalities and targeting help at the people and places most in need.

“In Glasgow, the Scottish Government is investing £500million through the City Region Deal and regional partners have secured £300,000 Health Foundation funding.

“Meanwhile, as winter approaches, we encourage all those who are eligible for the flu and Covid vaccinations to take up their appointment offers. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and the NHS from both viruses.”