Scottish Health & Welfare Staff in Lanarkshire to be Trained to Spot Health Impacts of Benefits Changes
Both North and South Lanarkshire councils are taking the lead in dealing with the changes. Janice Scouller, health improvement lead for the North West Unit, who is overseeing the welfare reform work in NHS Lanarkshire, said: “The welfare benefits system is undergoing the most significant reform since its establishment. “It is resulting in unprecedented numbers of individuals having their benefit entitlement reviewed, which is resulting in many being financially worse off.
The changes will disproportionately affect vulnerable individuals, many of whom suffer ill health and disability and who rely on benefits as their main source of financial income. We know from previous experience that this will impact on health services as poverty associated illnesses, such as stress, increase. “We not only want staff to be aware of this but to also look out for the signs of deteriorating health in patients.” It is estimated the welfare changes will result in:
disabled people in Scotland losing over £1 billion in benefit payments
100,000 claimants losing entitlement to sickness benefit
50,000 losing entitlement to disability payments
83,000 disabled households affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.
Janice continued: “Patients are also likely to turn to some of our staff for advice and support and we want staff to signpost people to the correct place.
“GPs and other health care professionals may also be asked to give support in the appeals process of some claimants whose benefit has changed. “All this will have an impact on the NHS and we want to prepare staff for this.
The brutal treatment of those least able to cope and in need of help and understanding must surely sway any still, “undecided” Scot to vote, “yes” in the referendum. Scotland is better than this.