PARKINSON Andy, BUTTRICK Jamie
Evidence review, undertaken through a joint project between the Low Commission and the Advice Services Alliance, to examine the impact of social welfare advice services on health outcomes. The review outlines key findings from 140 research studies and also provides an overview of 58 integrated health and welfare advice services. Advice services covered in the review included those providing advice on debts, welfare benefits, housing, employment and discrimination advice. The results of the evidence review are discussed across the following areas: health inequalities; debt and mental health; primary care; secondary and tertiary care, including mental health services. The analysis finds that welfare advice provided in health context results in better individual health and well-being and lower demand for health services. Positive effects on health and welbeing include: lower stress and anxiety, better sleeping patterns, more effective use of medication, smoking cessation, and improved diet and physical activity. It shows how the right welfare advice in the right place produces real benefits for patient health especially where advice services work directly with the NHS and care providers, and presents evidence to show that early and effective advice provision reduces demand on the NHS. It provides recommendations for NHS, Local Authority Commissioners, Health and Wellbeing Boards, and the advice sector for the use welfare advice services to improve health outcomes, address health inequalities and reduce demand on the NHS.