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Life circumstances

Life Circumstances are the circumstances in which people live which impact directly on their health both mentally and physically (Scottish Public Health Observatory).These circumstances can include:

  • Living conditions e.g. secure housing, locality, overcrowding, green space, traffic
  • Income e.g. having enough to live on
  • Secure and good employment e.g. Living Wage
  • Education e.g. Opportunities for Learning

Evidence suggests that if these issues are taken into account as part of an individual’s care in the NHS then opportunities arise which can lead to improvements in health and reduction in inequalities.

 For example current reforms to the welfare state are likely to impact adversely on NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde patients for example they may increase mental distress, poverty and diseases related to poverty all of which will have an impact on the individual, their family and friends and the NHS in responding to increased demand.  Income inequality in the United Kingdom is currently at its highest in the last 40 years.  Increasing rates of child poverty have also been noted with 1 in 5 children in Scotland living in poverty with this rising to 1 in 3 where there is a child with a disability.

Life circumstances are also linked to social class which include factors such as economics (wealth/income/occupation), political factors (status/power) and cultural factors (lifestyle/education/values/beliefs). 

Evidence suggests that individuals with poorer life circumstances are:

  • More likely to have poorer health including living with long term conditions e.g. Heart Disease
  • More  likely to die prematurely
  • More likely to be living in poverty
  • Less likely to make healthier lifestyle choices
  • Less likely to achieve good educational qualifications
  • More likely to be living in communities of high deprivation
  • More likely to be in insecure employment, in work poverty and underemployment 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have a range of programmes to tackle life circumstances which includes access to money advice in acute hospitals, employability services, staff training programmes and service delivery developments.

Resources for NHSGGC Staff:

An e module has been developed for all NHSGGC Staff on:

  • Poverty and Financial Inclusion
  • Employability

These can be accessed via LearnPro and can be found under the specialist subjects tab

See also:

Health Scotland  - Financial inclusion referral pathway toolkit