Almost a quarter of children in Scotland are living in poverty with this figure likely to increase.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s (NHSGGC) staff often see families at their most vulnerable and have the potential to act early in a child’s life.
Over the last seven years, Board staff have played a key role in addressing patients’ health issues as well as ensuring they are referred to money advice services where appropriate.
In that time, more than 16,000 referrals through NHSGGC’s Healthier Wealthier Children project has resulted in excess of £20 million in benefits being secured for eligible families through.
Of the 1.1 million people - a fifth of Scotland’s population – who live within the NHSGGC area, more than 400,000 of our residents live in communities belonging to the country’s most deprived areas.
Dr Linda De Caestecker, director of Public Health, NHSGGC, said: “One of the biggest challenges for the health service, as a whole, is to improve the health of people suffering the effects of disadvantage due to poverty.
“Socio-economic inequality has a unique impact on our population and we’re determined to continue tackling it in order to improve the health of people across the board area.”
“As health professionals, we are in a unique position to recognise the effect of poverty and provide the right support.
“Financial inclusion is key to improving the health of our population. NHSGGC plays a vital role in supporting patients avoid any major financial crisis, and the resulting negative effects on health, through early intervention on financial issues.
“These types of referrals can have a huge impact on families. Many people are now receiving financial support they didn’t know they were entitled to and assistance with food and fuel poverty.
“Our actions can help to reduce child poverty and as a trusted organisation that reaches so many people it’s vital that we continue to do whatever we can to tackle child poverty.”
“Asking our patients about money worries should be part of our routine enquiries. During Challenge Poverty Week and beyond we are asking staff to view a short film we have developed that helps tem raise the subject with patients or their families.
Challenge Poverty Week runs between 07-13 October.
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]
Pic: Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health