Maryhill & Possilpark’s Tackling Money Worries Project has successfully demonstrated the value of advice services linked to and co-located with primary health care.
Funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, initially for 18 months from March 2015 and now extended to three years, the project built on previous local work, and aimed to target families with young children, seeking to build their financial skills and knowledge and providing them with debt and benefits advice, with referrals coming from GPs, health visitors and other staff based at Possilpark Health Centre.
The project has faced and largely overcome practical challenges associated with the co-location of services and recruitment and retention of staff, and has expanded its focus to include patients using the health centre who don’t have young children as part of the process of building more effective links with GPs.
The project has been successful in reaching people who are very financially excluded, in some cases (particularly for migrant clients) who are at the point of destitution, and who have not used advice services before. The focus of work has primarily been on benefits and debt advice, with work to build financial skills and knowledge following, where the client wishes, initial crisis resolution inputs. In addition to its financial impact, the project has delivered self reported improvements to mental health and occasionally physical health for clients, improvements confirmed by the observations of health professionals making referrals. An innovative model for the sharing of patient record information with advice staff, based on an Edinburgh pilot, has also been established successfully. Health professionals are clear that the project is a significant improvement on the previous situation where they were without dedicated advice staff, and that it has increased their ability and willingness to raise and discuss financial issues with patients.
Below is our SLAB project's report, have a look for more information on the successful work being done.