GPs in Lambeth and Southwark will be able to prescribe financial advice sessions for working age patients in a pilot project which could be rolled out nationally if successful.
GPs will identify working age patients who have a long-term health condition and financial problems and refer them to Impact on Urban Health and the Centre for Responsible Credit, who will be able to help them with claiming benefits and dealing with debt problems.
Kieron Boyle, the chief executive of Impact on Urban Health, told the Guardian: “People’s finances and health are connected: debt, money worries and financial insecurity can have a profound effect on our physical and mental health.
“This is especially the case in ‘cliff edge’ moments such as unexpected bills or delays in income.
“As a result, we’re proud to support the UK’s first model of social prescribing that includes debt advice, bringing together local authorities, housing associations and healthcare providers. We think this approach could spread to cities across the country.”
The pilot project is set to be tested on 2,000 people and will then be reviewed with the aim of encouraging a national roll-out.