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Trip to the doctors could include financial check-up

Published: 31 January 2017

Trip to the doctors could include financial check-up

People in some of the most deprived areas of Glasgow and Dundee are being offered a new service where an appointment with their doctor could also see them referred to money and debt advisors within the same health-centre.

Shelter Scotland has received £239,692 funding to pilot its ‘Healthy Finances’ project from the UK-wide Money Advice Service in its latest round of ‘What Works’ funding.  Shelter Scotland is one only three Scottish charities to benefit in this funding announcement.

The idea behind ‘Healthy Finances’ is to reach some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland struggling with money problems who are otherwise unlikely to get help.  It will be offered to people who tell their doctor that they are experiencing financial hardship and facing housing and homelessness problems.

These are expected to be people who often remain well below the radar and only engage with services when they experience a medical crisis.  Core to the service is the ability to identify and help people who are at risk of falling into problem debt. In particular, the service is aimed at young adults on welfare and job seeking and working age adults who are struggling financially.  

Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said:

“People are much more likely to visit their doctor when they’re ill than they are to seek help when struggling financially. But the stress and pressure felt by people facing financial difficulties – especially if their home is under threat - is known to cause ill health.

“By basing this new advice service in health centres and having medical professionals refer people directly to it, we hope to reach more of those people who are less likely to ask for help and offer them the money and debt advice they may not otherwise get.

“Through this service, we expect to help some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach people in some of the most deprived areas in our society.  We hope that following the first two pilot projects in Glasgow and Dundee we can expand the service to other areas across Scotland.

“We very much welcome this funding from the Money Advice Service via the What Works fund.”

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