Polly Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Demos, and Rohan Martyres, Portfolio Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Oct 04, 2019
Through our multiple long-term conditions programme, we want to determine if we can help slow people’s progression from one long-term condition (LTC) to many by supporting their financial health.
Poor health and poverty are deeply intertwined. Our previous research shows that people living in areas with high levels of deprivation are more likely to develop multiple long-term conditions 13 years earlier than people living in the most affluent areas. But the relationship between poor health and poverty is not a simple one.
Being unwell can make it harder to earn an income. It can also mean you need to spend a lot more money and make it more difficult to manage what money you have. When people are in financial difficulty, it can make it harder for them to stay well, or recover from illness. People may not be able to afford healthy food or living spaces, or to take the time to exercise.
This means that the relationship between ‘financial health’ and poor health is a complex, two-way relationship. To help inform what role we can effectively play in influencing this, we commissioned Demos to review the current range of financial health interventions and identify relevant opportunities to improve people’s health by changing their financial situation.
Our research suggests that people who develop multiple long-term conditions often start with diabetes, coronary heart disease or depression. This research at Demos focused on financial health support for people with these three health conditions.
We looked at a wide range of financial interventions designed to improve people’s financial health – from advice to technology – and evaluated how effective they are at helping people with these conditions. We conducted 14 interviews with experts at national and local level, and analysed grants issued from 10 major funders to find out what current best practice is and what evidence supports it.
Through our research, we have found that there are four key ways to better design financial interventions to help people with multiple long-term conditions:
We know that financial interventions are complex and require support from many different partners, which might take time to set up and deliver. However, to overcome the lack of evidence on what works, we need to come up with more innovative approaches to financial intervention.
As the Charity builds on its work on how social risk factors impact on multiple long-term conditions, we look forward to seeing this learning applied to new projects in South London, and contribute to the evidence on what helps to support better financial health for people with long-term conditions.
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23 April, 2020
As a funder, our priority is to support our partners and the communities most affected by COVID-19. Our Portfolio Director, Louise Mousseau, sets out the actions we've taken to date and how we're adapting our work in response to a changing environment.