Social welfare legal rights exist to ensure that people have decent living and working conditions, and their critical needs are provided for. These rights relate to welfare benefits, housing, debt, employment, education, community care and immigration/asylum.
Failure to access legal protection, and rights to benefits and services, harms the health of deprived communities. The recent case of Awaab Ishak, who died after prolonged exposure to mould in his home, highlights the harm that can occur when vulnerable people’s rights are not upheld.
Health Justice Partnerships integrate welfare rights advice with patient care, connecting people with the services they need to understand and enforce their legal rights. The role of the NHS is critical. As Awaab’s parents said: ‘We cannot tell you how many health professionals we have cried in front of and Rochdale borough housing staff we have pleaded to expressing concern.. We shouted out as loudly as we could.”
The NHS is keen to act against health inequalities and better serve the needs of low income and vulnerable patients. Health Justice Partnerships are an effective intervention than can contribute to achieving this important goal.
Aims of the event
- To discuss the value of integrating health and social welfare legal services, drawing on current evidence
- To showcase a range of innovative and successful examples of Health Justice Partnership, based in diverse healthcare settings across England (primary, acute, mental health and community settings)
- To facilitate sharing of learning, with a focus on good practice and how to achieve effective integrated partnerships
- To provide an opportunity for participants to consider how they can develop Health Justice Partnerships in their areas, that make a difference to the sources of health and wellbeing and health inequalities
The event will be of interest to a wide range of people working within Integrated Care Systems and public health policy and practice. For example, those with an interest in poverty, health inequalities and cost of living issues, or with a role planning local services in partnership with voluntary and community sector organisations.
- Build their understanding of the role of legal interventions in supporting health and addressing health inequalities
- Learn about different approaches to Health Justice Partnership, based on local examples of innovation and good practice
- Have an opportunity to forge links with other professionals who have an interest and/or experience in Health Justice Partnership
- Begin thinking how Health Justice Partnerships might be applied in their region or area of work