Early access to money and welfare rights advice has a positive impact on individual health and wellbeing.
Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships (WAHPs) provide access to money and rights advice in health care. This is achieved by embedding advice workers in health settings and providing consensual access to medical records.
WAHPs provide a simple, effective, person-centred approach to tackling health inequalities, improving individual health and well-being and producing cost-savings for the public sector. By providing advices services in a non-stigmatised setting, which usually involves referral by a trusted member of the medical profession, WAHPs are able to offer a delivery model which supports earlier intervention and engages individuals who would not usually use ‘traditional’ advice services.
There is an extensive body of evidence that demonstrates the integration of advice and health services has multiple benefits for funders and providers of health and advice services and individual service users/ patients. WAHPs enable health services to focus on clinical needs, address health inequalities, offer an early intervention approach and enable advice agencies to engage with client groups who would not otherwise access their services.
The IS offers resources and support to help develop WAHPs which includes access to the Welfare Advice Service Facilitator (WASF) whose remit is to establish welfare advice and health partnerships within healthcare settings.
Funded by Scottish Government , the Improvement Service works in collaboration with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Public Health Network to provide support. The initiative offers advice and support to local authority and third sector advice agencies, Health and Social Care Partnerships, and health services which are interested in developing welfare advice and health partnerships.