The SNP Government is investing up to £300,000 to help support free money and welfare advice services accessible through the expansion of Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships (WAHPs).
The SNP Government’s £3.17 million 2-year programme of WAHP services involves embedding advice in 150 GP practices across some of Scotland’s most deprived areas.
The following primary care delivery locations of WAHP services are currently in operation within Cunninghame North but serve clients within every GP’s catchment area.
Dalry Medical Practice, The Health Centre, 50 Vennel Street, Dalry, KA24 4AF
Saltcoats Group Practice, The Health Centre, 17/19 Raise Street, Saltcoats, KA21 5LX
South Beach Medical Centre, 8 Harbour Street, Ardrossan, Ayrshire, KA22 8BS.
The SNP Government is currently undertaking work to identify which additional GP practices will be hosting the extension of the WAHPs service across Scotland. Eligible GP Practices are identified using the Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
From the autumn, GP practices in 20 rural and 10 island communities will be able to refer patients directly to an in-house welfare rights officer for advice on increasing income, social security eligibility, debt resolution, housing and employability issues.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The cost of living crisis is on everyone’s mind right now and we know the impact that can have on people’s mental and physical health, particularly those who are struggling the most to make ends meet.
“Dedicated money and welfare advice in the same location where people are already receiving mental and physical health support is about providing people with more convenient access to the help they need, whilst also reaching those who do not engage with traditional advice services.
“The SNP Government is committed to mitigating the impact of increased costs, and this action is in addition to the almost £3 billion already allocated this year by Ministers to help households cope with the pressures so many are facing.”
Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships
Advice is provided by a money and welfare advice worker within the practice. They typically have one or more session within the practice each week.
New participating surgeries will be identified from areas where cost of living is already disproportionately high, and people are likely to be more heavily impacted by the current cost of living crisis.
An evaluation of the original scheme, which covered nine GP surgeries in Glasgow, showed the average financial gain to individuals accessing WAHPs was over £19 for every £1 invested in the scheme, and over £25 for every £1 invested when debt negotiation and management was included over a period of 12 months.