BACKGROUND: Sars-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has led to more than 226,000 deaths in the UK and multiple risk factors for mortality including age, sex and deprivation have been identified. This study aimed to identify which individual indicators of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), an area-based deprivation index, were predictive of mortality.

METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study of anonymised electronic health records of 710 consecutive patients hospitalised with Covid-19 disease between March and June 2020 in the Lothian Region of Southeast Scotland. Data sources included automatically extracted data from national electronic platforms and manually extracted data from individual admission records. Exposure variables of interest were SIMD quintiles and 12 indicators of deprivation deemed clinically relevant selected from the SIMD. Our primary outcome was mortality. Age and sex adjusted univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine measures of association between exposures of interest and the primary outcome.

RESULTS: After adjusting for age and sex, we found an increased risk of mortality in the more deprived SIMD quintiles 1 and 3 (OR 1.75, CI 0.99-3.08, p = 0.053 and OR 2.17, CI 1.22-3.86, p = 0.009, respectively), but this association was not upheld in our multivariable model containing age, sex, Performance Status and clinical parameters of severity at admission. Of the 12 pre-selected indicators of deprivation, two were associated with greater mortality in our multivariable analysis: income deprivation rate categorised by quartile (Q4 (most deprived): 2.11 (1.20-3.77) p = 0.011)) and greater than expected hospitalisations due to alcohol per SIMD data zone (1.96 (1.28-3.00) p = 0.002)).

CONCLUSIONS: SIMD as an aggregate measure of deprivation was not predictive of mortality in our cohort when other exposure measures were accounted for. However, we identified a two-fold increased risk of mortality in patients residing in areas with greater income-deprivation and/or number of hospitalisations due to alcohol. In areas where aggregate measures fail to capture pockets of deprivation, exploring the impact of specific SIMD indicators may be helpful in targeting resources to residents at risk of poorer outcomes from Covid-19.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Cite as

Scopazzini, M., Cave, N., Mutch, C., Ross, D., Bularga, A., Chase-Topping, M., Woolhouse, M., Koch, O., Perry, M. & Mackintosh, C. 2023, 'Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) indicators as predictors of mortality among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 disease in the Lothian Region, Scotland during the first wave: a cohort study', International Journal for Equity in Health, 22, article no: 205. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-023-02017-y

Downloadable citations

Download HTML citationHTML Download BIB citationBIB Download RIS citationRIS
Last updated: 28 October 2023
Was this page helpful?