Closer ties between legal and health services

Loddon Campaspe CLC is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the Victoria Law Foundation to deliver legal education to health staff at several Bendigo services.

The funding will also allow us to forge stronger ties between local legal and health services and to build on the work we’ve already begun around Advocacy Health Alliances.

The training will focus on those areas of the law frequently encountered by patients that affect their health and well-being, including legal issues around family violence and family breakdown, housing, income security, credit and debt, consumer matters, legal capacity, and the denial of services.

Current legal training for health staff focuses on professional compliance and risk. Our training will assist health staff to understand and identify legal issues impacting on the health of their patients and families, which will lead to better referrals to legal and advocacy services.

In 2012 the Clayton Utz Foundation funded Loddon Campaspe CLC to research Medical Legal Partnerships, a model of legal service provision developed at Boston Children’s Hospital in the 1990s. There are now more than 300 Medical Legal Partnerships across the US assisting children, the elderly and migrants on issues ranging from cancer to lead poisoning, obesity and injuries from family violence.

The Clayton Utz grant allowed us to produce our 2012 report Advocacy-Health Alliances – better health through Medical-Legal Partnership. The report, which drew on our experience delivering the Older Person’s Legal Program at Bendigo Health and the Family Violence Prevention Legal Service, highlighted the need for training of health services staff.

As we reported in our April 29 post, the Advocacy Health Alliances report led to establishment of the pilot legal service we are establishing in partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services to address the legal needs of children and their families.

The pilot service and the training now funded by the Victoria Law Foundation will also complement the findings of a 2012 legal needs study of over 20,000 Australians conducted by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation in 2012 that recommended the further development of such service delivery models in Australia.

 

Photo credit: Aidan Jones / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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