Lothian scheme boosts uptake of food and vitamin vouchers for families living in poverty

April 11, 2016

An improvement project in Lothian is boosting uptake of food and vitamin vouchers for low income pregnant women in the area.

The scheme has seen a 13% rise in eligible women receiving vouchers in Lothian compared with an 8% decline for the rest of Scotland.

The full results are published in BMJ Quality Improvement Reports today - an open access forum to help clinicians share improvement ideas.

Healthy Start is a UK wide food and vitamin voucher scheme for low income pregnant women and families. But across the UK, at least 25% of eligible women and children miss out on vouchers, and that figure has remained static for many years.

So a team at NHS Lothian set out to increase uptake receiving vouchers in the area by December 2015. Using an improvement model, they identified ways to improve documentation, sign up, and referral.

Comparing average figures for January-June 2014 and March-August 2015, there was a 13.3% rise in voucher receipt in Lothian (increase from 313 to 355 women), versus an 8.4% decline for the rest of Scotland (fall from 1688 to 1546 women).

The scheme has also increased the number of women referred for welfare rights advice, boosting family budgets by an average of £4,500.

This improvement project "has had a measurable impact on pregnant women across Lothian," conclude the authors. "Our findings have relevance across the UK, particularly at a time of worsening finances for many families," they add.

The team, led by Graham Mackenzie, a Consultant in Public Health, will present their project at the BMJ/IHI International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare next week (12-15 April 2016), in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.