Workers who help GPs direct patients to various services are being piloted in Dundee, as part of a bigger scheme to tackle poverty.
The Scottish Government has released the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, which outlines its vision for tackling poverty across Scotland.
This included a pledge of £100,000 to be distributed across the country.
Dundee has secured a slice of the funding, to be used to raise awareness of the issue and get it into the “national debate”.
As part of the report, the Scottish Government also revealed a pilot ‘links worker’ scheme was under way in Dundee. Links workers assist GPs by providing patients with support from other agencies.
The report said: “We’re currently piloting 10 links workers in Glasgow and Dundee and evaluating their impact. By 2018, we will have at least 40 links workers placed in practices serving some of our most deprived communities.”
Councillor Jimmy Black, chairman of the Dundee Fairness Commission, said: “We’ve been doing this for some time in Dundee and we think it really helps.
“GPs want to try to move away from just giving people pills and this social prescribing scheme can be a good alternative. If someone needs to join a walking group because they need to lower their blood pressure, but doesn’t want to be walking on their own, these people can help direct them to one. We’ve got these in place at four GPs, but obviously we would like to expand that.”
On the funding pledge, which is set to help Dundee communities, the Scottish Government report said the money will be used to raise awareness of poverty.
It added: “People with experience of poverty are increasingly influential in the public debate on tackling the causes and consequences of poverty.
“We will provide start-up funding for three different communities who want to work in a similar way across Scotland.
“We have already agreed to provide the Dundee Partnership with funding to help this happen in Dundee.”
The action plan comes as representatives of Dundee’s Fairness Commission met with organisations to implement ideas that will tackle the issue.
Mr Black added: “We set out not to cure poverty, but to make some difference. Our action plan will be coming to the Dundee Partnership’s next meeting. What I can say just now is that the Fairness Commission report is being taken to different bodies for discussions.”