The Scottish Government is investing an additional £300,000 in Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships (WAHP) programme which is managed by the Improvement Service. This will extend the provision of money and welfare advice within healthcare settings to 30 rural and islands communities.
From the autumn, GP practices in 20 rural and 10 island communities will be able to refer patients directly to an in-house welfare rights officer for advice on increasing income, social security eligibility, debt resolution, housing and employability issues.
They will build on the work already being undertaken at nearly 150 GP practices in the most deprived areas of the country as part of the Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships programme.
An evaluation of the original scheme, which covered nine GP surgeries in Glasgow showed that the average financial gain to individuals accessing WAHPs was over £19 for every £1 invested in the scheme, and over £25 for every £1 invested when debt negotiation and management was included over a period of 12 months.
New participating surgeries will be identified from areas where people are more likely to be heavily impacted by the current cost of living crisis.