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York GPs help tackle economic stress
JOBLESS patients at two York doctors' surgeries are being given financial assistance in a bid to help them get back to work.
Pilot teams at the Lavender Grove surgery in Holgate and Gale Farm surgery in Acomb are working with residents who find financial stress a barrier to returning to employment.
GPs refer patients to City of York Council’s York Learning team, formerly Future Prospects, when they believe they would benefit from support to tackle debts or improve entitlement to benefits.
The teams have already secured a total of more than £300,000 in additional annual income for patients.
Strategic manager Colette Gray said the challenge was to help residents improve their skills, particularly self-confidence, if they have been out of employment for some time.
“But increasingly we are working with residents who are finding the stress associated with their financial situation to be a barrier to returning to work,” she said.
“Our role has been to support residents to improve this through accessing both our own and other services such as CAB, credit union, charities, grant funders and Jobcentre Plus to help residents deal with their financial problems. Having stabilised a family’s finances, we find that it is much easier to work with them to secure employment.”
She said 140 residents had been supported since March and the teams were continuing to take referrals from GPs.
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the council’s deputy chief executive, who is heading up the council’s anti-poverty work, said GPs would often see vulnerable people who were suffering real stress as a result of losing their jobs or their adverse financial circumstances.
“This is an excellent initiative to provide the skills and experience to help those people while in the GP practice. It is often an environment where residents are more comfortable talking about their debts and income. It is a great example of how health services and the council can collaborate to make a real difference for some of the city’s residents.”
Council leader James Alexander said the pilot scheme reflected the desire the authority had to actively seek out vulnerable residents who needed its help.