Cost of living crisis

We’ve been hearing a lot about the ‘cost of living crisis’ and want to monitor the impact that it may have on the health of local people and their access to health and social care.
man in care

If you have any experiences of how the rising cost of living is impacting you or people in your community, please do share your experiences with us by calling us at 020 8516 7767 between the hours of 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday or by emailing information@healthwatchwandsworth.co.uk.

Impact on access to health and care

We would like to hear about whether the cost of living is affecting whether people can access the health and care they need, such as the ability to pay the cost of travel to hospital.

Healthwatch England has reported on the how escalating costs can impact on access to dental care. The Royal Collage Physicians (RCP) have reported that ‘Health inequalities - unfair and avoidable differences in health and access to healthcare across the population, and between different groups within society – have long been an issue but the rising cost of living has exacerbated them’.

Impact on health and wellbeing

A YouGov poll commissioned by the RCP that was published in May suggested that over half of the people in Britain thought their health had worsened due to the cost of living increases. May indicated that it was down to increased heating costs, the rising cost of food and transport costs rising. 16% of those surveyed who said they were impacted by the rising cost of living had been told by a doctor or health professional in the last year that stress caused by rising living costs had worsened their health.

Where to look for support

If you or someone you know is struggling, there are places to look for support.
Here are a few links to get started:

For those who are affected by the cost-of-living crisis it is important to reach out to Wandsworth Council as they offer many grants and support including Discretionary support grants.

Wandsworth Council are also awarding Crisis Assistance (supermarket vouchers) to cover short-term needs to prevent serious risk to health and safety of a family or individual.

Wandsworth Council can be contacted by phone: 020 8871 6000 or via their website: www.wandsworth.gov.uk

For transport to hospital: in an emergency you should always call 999 for an ambulance (you will not have to pay to be taken to hospital in an emergency). If it’s not an emergency you’ll be expected to make your own way to hospital. In some cases you could be eligible for non-emergency patient transport services (PTS). These services provide free transport to and from hospital for

  • people whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
  • people who find it difficult to walk
  • parents or guardians of children who are being transported

PTS may not be available in all areas. To find out if you're eligible for PTS and how to access it, you'll need to speak to your GP or the healthcare professional who referred you to hospital.

Public Health have a list of resources to help people prepare for winter

Six things they recommend you do:

  • Make sure you get your flu vaccination.
  • Come forward for your COVID-19 booster when offered.
  • Keep your home at 18°C (65°F) or higher if you can.
  • Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.
  • Contact NHS 111 online or by phone if you are worried about any symptoms.
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter.  

There are grants that could help people reduce their bills

The Green Homes Grant is a scheme for homeowners and landlords in England to support the installation of energy efficient and low-carbon heating improvements to their homes. This could help save up to £600 a year on energy bills and make homes warmer and more comfortable for the people living in them. To see if you’re eligible call the GHG:LAD helpline on 0808 196 8255 to speak with the screening team (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm).

Be-enriched have also included some useful information on things from shopping to heating and transport costs on their website. For more information, call them on 07397 288160

Citizen’s Advice has resources for managing money, including help if you are in debt or can’t pay your rent or heating bills. Call their Adviceline on 0808 278 7833 between 10 to 4, Monday to Friday.

Citizen’s Advice rely on volunteers to answer calls to this number. When you call you’ll have to wait in a queue. They answer most calls within 45 minutes but calls are free from a UK mobile or landline.

Mental Health

To learn more about managing mental health and wellbeing when you have money worries there is more information from MIND. You can call their Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email info@mind.org.uk.

The Mental Health and Money Advice website: https://www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/ has information on welfare benefits, managing money and mental health care. Unfortunately they are not contactable by phone but if you, or a family member can get access to their website, it has many helpful tips and tools.

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