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Previously NHS Health Scotland

Overview and benefits of referral pathways

Financial inclusion can be described as the ability of an individual, household or group to access appropriate financial services or products. Without this ability people are often referred to as financially excluded.

Money and welfare services can include 

  • income maximisation
  • money and debt advice
  • financial capability and management support
  • awareness-raising and service provision around banking, insurance and affordable credit.

Here you can find information on what financial inclusion referral pathways are and how they can help address child poverty.  

If you are part of a local authority or NHS Board, this information could be of uses when creating your local child poverty action reports.

What are financial inclusion referral pathways

These pathways are formal arrangements developed between the NHS and money and welfare services. They make sure that all patients are

  • asked about their money worries as part of the routine assessment of their health and care
  • offered a referral to a local money or welfare advice service. 

Services involved 

The money or welfare advice is provided by a range of providers in Local Authority and third sector organisations. 

In some areas of Scotland, pathways have been established between money and welfare advice services and

  • maternity and health visiting services
  • GP services
  • acute care services.

Benefits of referral pathways

Money worries and socio-economic pressures experienced by individuals and families are known to have a major impact on health and wellbeing. They can also widen health inequalities and increase pressure on practice and health and social care services.

Financial inclusion referral pathways are an effective method of supporting people to be more financially included, to increase their incomes and to reduce household costs.

There is increasing evidence that integrating money and welfare and health services has extensive benefits for

  • patients
  • health services
  • money and welfare services. 

You can find out more about why it's important to support people to be more financially included within our impact of child poverty page.