A woman speaks to an advisor or counsellor

Funding agreed to extend welfare advice within healthcare model

 

The Scottish Government has provided funding for a Welfare Advice Service Facilitator to help embed welfare rights and money advisors within GP practices and primary care services.

 

Welfare reform and austerity are putting GP services, and primary care more broadly, under undue pressure. Increasingly, health care professionals are dealing with problems caused by changes to the benefit system and the immediate effects of poverty meaning that they have less time to focus on their patients’ clinical needs.

 

A number of projects to help alleviate this situation have been developed throughout Scotland; these focus on embedding welfare rights and money advisers in General Practice and wider primary care services. Independent evaluation has shown that these services not only address the problems underlying health inequalities but also ease some of the pressures faced by health services serving Scotland’s most deprived communities. A recent Social Return on Investment report by the Improvement Service suggested that as a direct result of embedding advice services in GP practices, patients experienced improved feelings of health and wellbeing and practice staff were able to make better use of their time focussing on clinical interventions. This evaluation adds to an ever-increasing body of evidence which supports the approach of embedding advice services in primary health care settings.

 

In order to support the further rollout of the embedded model, the Scottish Government has provided funding for a Welfare Advice Service Facilitator  (WASF) to assist advice and health services to develop the embedded model in their areas of operation. The post  will be hosted by the Improvement Service and will provide advice and support to advice agencies, Health and Social Care Partnerships and health services which are interested in developing this model in their areas. For more information contact Karen Carrick at karen.carrick@improvementservice.org.uk