As part of the ‘Focus on Health Inequalities’ month, the Public Health Agency is sharing its ‘Advice 4 Health: Support and Benefits Maximisation’ project successes and good practice at a seminar on 18th November at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey. The scheme, in the Northern Trust area, is in partnership with local Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust; it supports vulnerable people in accessing the services available to them.
Working across a range of health and social care settings, such as community rehabilitation centres, GP surgeries and local inpatient mental health units, specialist Advice 4 Health Workers aim to reduce poverty among older people, people with disabilities, people with mental health difficulties, families with young children, and those living in fuel poverty.
Welcoming delegates to the event Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA said, “The Public Health Agency has a lead role in improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities. We know that people experiencing poverty have higher rates of ill health and so helping them to access available services and benefits is crucial in tackling this challenge. The PHA annually invests £115,000 in this work, and we are pleased to see that it has exceeded its targets, having worked with more than 35,000 individuals and recovered approx. £3.4m in income maximisation for them, since 2006. Sharing this work should help other areas assist people to gain their entitlements, reducing poverty and its extremely detrimental effect on health and wellbeing.”
In his Opening Address, Michael McGimpsey, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety said, “We all know that from recent budget announcements there are hard times ahead with a very real risk of health inequalities widening. In these circumstances it becomes even more vital that we do all we can to ensure the vulnerable in our society receive the help they need.
“Local projects are hugely important and that is why schemes such as the Public Health Agency’s Advice4Health play a vital role in complementing existing services that help those most in need – at a time when they need it."
Explaining the role of the four participating Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, Valerie Adams, CAB Manger, Antrim, said, “The Advice 4 Health project provides accessible, confidential and flexible advice and information to those most in need. The benefit to clients is not only in monetary terms, but also significantly improves their overall health and well-being.
A core component of the project has been joint working, establishing close links between local health professionals and the Advice 4 Health Workers who are based in the local CAB offices.
The Advice for Health Project has helped to provide a more holistic approach for the people who need it most.”
This work was shared with interested parties, working in health, poverty and service provision across NI, with people attending from a wide range of areas including, Larne, Ballymena, Newry, Armagh, Derry and Belfast.
Contact the PHA Press Office, Ormeau Avenue, on 028 9031 1611
Event: Advice 4 Health: Support and Benefit Maximisation Seminar
Date/time: Thursday 18 November 2010, 10:00 - 10:30pm
Venue: Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey Borough Council, BT36 5QA
Attendees: Minister Michael McGimpsey MLA; Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA;
Valerie Adams, CAB Manger, Antrim; Angela Welch, CAB Coleraine; Sharon
Dillon, CAB Dungannon; Tracey Sproule, Advice 4 Health Worker, Northern
Trust and others
Notes to the editor
• Established through the Public Health Agency’s Northern Investing for Health Partnership, in collaboration with local Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Advice 4 Health project supports vulnerable people in accessing the services available to them.
The project objectives:
• Promote the delivery of benefit uptake support and advice in a range of health and social care settings, with a particular focus on reducing poverty amongst the elderly, people with disabilities, people with mental health difficulties and families with young children.
• Develop CAB services with Community Care Teams, local hospitals and designated Health Action Zone areas.
• Deliver advice sessions in consultation and collaboration with partner agencies
• From April 2006 to March 2010:
o Advice was provided for over 35,000 patients/clients
o Approx. £3.4m income maximisation recovered for clients.
• It is projected that Advice 4 Health will easily exceed its 2010/2011 annual targets.