Background In partnership with our Local Authority (LA), we are supporting the LA’s strategic aim of creating a financially inclusive City by partnering to help tackle the issues of poverty. Recent Marie Curie research shows that over 90,000 people die in poverty in the UK every year. Many of these fall into poverty as a direct result of being diagnosed with a terminal illness. People under 65 who are terminally ill are most at risk, with more than one in four (28%) dying in poverty.
Aims The aims of the scheme were to: (1) Prioritise those that lived in areas of highest deprivation. (2) Reduce stress and anxiety related to cost-of-living issues. (3) Improve quality of life.
Method In December our IT department identified our service users who lived in the areas of highest deprivation across the City. We adopted a ‘blanket approach’ at this time to ensure maximum reach before Christmas. We purchased £100 supermarket vouchers for distribution.
We managed to distribute to over 100 people before Christmas. After Christmas, we continued to work through the list contacting patients to ask what they needed. We also received referrals from our staff working with patients and families.
Results In a 3 month period, we have contacted over 500 patients with over 300 awards actioned.
We have awarded almost £43,000 that has helped patients pay utility bills, attend medical appointments, comply with treatment plans, etc. The primary method of support has been utility bill support and supermarket vouchers. We have received numerous cards, letters and telephone messages of gratitude explaining the positive impact on their lives.
Conclusion Owing to the nature of our service, we found that we were only able to award once in the majority of cases. For this reason, our awards tended to be higher than LA recurrent awards.
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