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Money Worries

NHSGGC Staff Guidance – Money Worries

Asking and responding to patients’ money worries is part of Inequalities Sensitive Practice, which is about taking into account each patient’s social circumstances and how they are affecting their health. It also relates to person centred care.

Advice On Money Worries – Who is it for?

Money advice support is for patients, parents/carers or staff of all ages, regardless of their working status.

Why is it important?

With the recession and changes to the benefits system, many of our patients are experiencing money difficulties and mounting debts. The COVID-19 pandemic has also created additional financial worries for many people.

This is important to health services as in addition to being a cause of poor health, money worries can also be a barrier to engaging fully with our services.

“I observe this again and again – that I cannot address medical issues as I have to deal with the patients’ agenda first, which is getting money to feed and heat.”  GP

By asking a simple question and providing assistance on where to get help, we can do a lot to prevent unnecessary worry and anxiety.

Click here to view Money Worries: In Sickness & In Health – a short film aimed at healthcare professionals outlining the link between poor health and money worries.

What kind of advice available?

If your patients are facing financial difficulties, they should not pay for advice.   You can help your patients to use the free, high quality services available across NHSGGC which offer help with:

  • Maximising Income      
  • Debt Advice
  • Benefits
  • Savings
  • Banking
  • Budgeting

Evidence shows that referring patients to these services can result in improved mental health, increased income, debt reduction, increased financial planning and reduced stress.

How Do I Ask About Money Worries?

If your patients are facing financial difficulties, they should not pay for advice.   You can help your patients to use the free, high quality services available across NHSGGC which offer help with:

  • Maximising Income      
  • Debt Advice
  • Benefits
  • Savings
  • Banking
  • Budgeting

Evidence shows that referring patients to these services can result in improved mental health, increased income, debt reduction, increased financial planning and reduced stress.

How Do I Ask About Money Worries?

If done sensitively, patients value being asked about money problems and referred to Money Advice Services.  It only takes a few minutes to do and can be incorporated easily into patient assessment as part of a person centred approach. Most NHSGGC assessment forms cover money worries.

  • “Do you have any money or debt worries?
  • “Would you like to speak with an advisor to discuss money worries or help you to claim any benefits that you may be entitled to?”
  • “Is having a baby adding financial pressure?”

These type of standard questions for introducing the topic of money worries are used in the community setting. Similar questions are used in hospitals, where staff need to establish whether the patients has any immediate work/money related concerns as a result of their health condition.

If you are working with groups of people it is good practice to discuss people’s health in the context of their life circumstances.  Money and debt worries are a major issue for many people and should always be covered in these discussions.

How Do I Make A Referral?

Where patients have issues relating to money worries and debt, the role of staff is to:

  • reassure that support is available
  • gain consent for referral
  • refer to the service

In Hospital settings – complete a referral by contacting the Support and Information Service at sis@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

In community settings, use the link below to locate Money Advice services in local settings: http://infodir.nhsggc.org.uk/Home/Directory

Training & Resources

In NHSGGC, tackling inequalities is a priority.  Responding to money and debt worries is part of this.

If you would like a training session on raising the issue, why it’s important and on referral pathways, please get in touch with:
Lesley.Nish@ggc.acot.nhs.uk or Jane.Beresford@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Poverty and financial inclusion and employability e-modules are also available via Staffnet alongside a range of other e-modules on equalities issues.

Posters and flyers can help promote a discussion around money advice services for patients, parents/carers and staff. They are available at this link – simply enter ‘Money Advice’ in the search facility:
http://www.phrd.scot.nhs.uk/HPAC/Search

The Money Advice Service website offers information and advice on budget planning and improving your finances, including tools and calculators to help you plan ahead.