Poverty can be a cruel master

Challenge Poverty Week hopes to be able to effect some change to resident's circumstances.
Challenge Poverty Week hopes to be able to effect some change to resident's circumstances.

NHS Lanarkshire is using Challenge Poverty Week to highlight the services and resources available to help those impacted by poverty.

This Scotland-wide campaign is designed to show that poverty exists in Scotland and affects us all, that people can work to end it, that it restricts people’s ability to take part in society, and that it can be solved by boosting incomes and reducing the cost of living.

There are a number of activities and initiatives taking place across Lanarkshire during Challenge Poverty Week with NHS staff and the population of Lanarkshire encouraged to get involved. These sessions focus on some of the key poverty challenges being faced by Lanarkshire residents, sometimes on a daily basis.

North and South Lanarkshire Council’s have produced local child poverty action reports that outline the work being done by the councils, health board and wider partnership to tackle child poverty. These plans outline some of the key poverty challenges and focus on priorities such as increasing income from employment, reducing the cost of living and increasing income from social security and benefits in kind.

Gabe Docherty, Director of Public Health at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Poverty can have a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing outcomes for many children and families.

“Poverty stops people participating in society and restricts people’s lives in a range of different ways – and it is women, children, minority groups and disabled people who are often affected the most.

“Health professionals, in all settings, have a key role to play in recognising the impact of poverty and ensuring that they provide the right health and wellbeing support alongside referral pathways to welfare advice services.

“NHS staff might be the first or only point of contact with services that a patient experiencing poverty has. Health professionals have the potential to act early on in a child’s life. They are likely to see families at their most vulnerable, when they may learn best how to support their needs.

“They are in a position to understand that children not being brought to appointments/parents not attending may be a consequence of poverty, and can respond compassionately. This kind of interaction can help aid healing as part of an intervention.

“Local NHS actions, such as strengthening financial inclusion referral pathways between health and money and welfare advice services, can help reduce the impact of poverty on our children and vulnerable groups.

“NHS Boards can make a difference too as an employer and procurer of goods and services. NHS Lanarkshire is a Living Wage Accredited employer and committed to pay the real living wage, securing the living wage for external contracts and protecting employees from adverse working conditions through responsible policies.”

For more information about Challenge Poverty Week see www.challengepoverty.net.

We will be posting daily messages on the NHS Lanarkshire Twitter and Facebook page. Follow the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtags #challengepoverty #AyeWeCan

South Lanarkshire has created the booklet When Money is Tight which has practical advice for when budgets are stretched, with information to help you make ends meet. This can be viewed at: https://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/downloads/download/718/

A list of the various Challenge Poverty Week events taking place in North Lanarkshire can be found at: https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=34607