This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Key features of referral pathways

To ensure a financial inclusion referral pathway is effective, there are a number of key features that should be considered.

Here you can find information on some key features for 

For health, money and welfare services to consider

Key features that health, money and welfare services should consider are

  • formal partnership arrangements between services
  • person-centred, accessible and sensitive approaches to the needs of patients, children and families with children
  • undertaking enquiry and the provision of advice within familiar and non stigmatising settings which people trust (such as a health centre)
  • formal and secure transferring of patient information between both services.

For health services to consider

Key features that health services should consider are 

  • universal and routine financial inclusion enquiry - ask all patients about money worries as part of the routine assessment of their care and offer a referral to a money advice service (this helps alleviate any potential stigma or people being missed)
  • the recording, monitoring and reporting of relevant data on the inquiry, referral and patient outcomes within existing health systems, where possible, rather than creating new ones. 

CARE approach

An approach known as CARE has been developed to support universal and routine financial inclusion enquiry. 

This stands for

  • consider – money worries as part of your universal and routine assessment of maternal and child health
  • ask – simple, non-judgemental questions about money and debt worries and explain that it’s your role to ask
  • refer – to your local money and welfare rights advice service noting that this is free and confidential
  • engage and explain – that the advice service will be in contact with them directly.

You can find out more about this on the improvement service (external site) as well as the short animation below

Support on asking about money worries

We have produced a guidance leaflet called ‘Asking about money worries’ specifically for midwives, health visitors and family nurses on our web to print platform. This is to support them with implementing the CARE approach and asking about money worries.

It can be customised by each NHS Health Board to provide contact details and the referral process for their local money and welfare advice provider in line with their formal referral pathway.

You can access the leaflet and our web to print platform via your NHS Board Public Health Lead for financial inclusion referral pathways. If you aren’t sure who this is, or you have any questions, then you can email our Population Health Team here who will be happy to help.

For money and welfare services to consider

Key features that money and welfare services should consider are to

  • make proactive contact with the person referred
  • cover all aspects of income maximization - such as welfare benefits, debt resolution, housing problems, employability support and representation at tribunals
  • link patients into other sources of support as appropriate 
  • employ money advisors who are accredited under the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers and registered with, and regulated by, the Financial Conduct Authority and covered by professional indemnity insurance
  • ensure a person sees the same worker throughout the entire process - providing continuity of care and support in order to get the best outcome.

Where possible, it's also important to enable money advisors to have direct access to patient medical records when producing reports in support of benefit applications and to discuss these with GPs to ensure accuracy. This reduces the number of mandatory reconsiderations and appeals and ensures people receive the welfare benefits, they are entitled to, before reaching crisis point.