This was extended for a further year until May Community pharmacies were invited on voluntary basis to participate in the scheme in and then reapply to take part in Participation in the scheme was conducted in line with specification and terms and conditions set down in the letters issued by Scottish Government for both years, and to help ensure all community pharmacy staff were aware of and understood the procedures for reimbursement.
In addition, community pharmacies were reimbursed the cost price for the vitamins which they dispensed through the Healthy Start scheme. The reimbursement system operated as follows:. Community pharmacies ordered supplies of vitamin tablets and drops from three main wholesalers operating in Scotland as part of the pilot. Community pharmacies were allowed to sell Healthy Start vitamins to non-beneficiaries at a pre-agreed price. Community pharmacies could return any out of date stock to wholesalers for reimbursement. During the trial scheme NHS Boards could continue to supply Healthy Start vitamins directly to eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women and children aged under 4.
Other NHS Boards never made any claims but met the cost of providing Healthy Start vitamins and drops through their own budgets. Scottish Government also collect data on reimbursement claims direct from some NHS Boards on a monthly basis for the arrangement of a quarterly payment. Search Search. Home Publications. You must check vouchers carefully before accepting them — do not accept any vouchers that do not have a watermark running through them matching the picture on the front, or which are damaged so that the barcodes cannot be read.
You must also ensure that you do not mark or deface the vouchers before sending them to us. If you have provided correct and current bank account details you should receive payment within 14 days of posting your claim. If you do not please contact us for advice. Is there a time limit for submitting vouchers for payment? You must claim within 6 months of a voucher's use by date.
We cannot pay for any vouchers that are submitted after this date. We suggest you check vouchers you accept to make sure they are within their use-by date, and claim payments regularly. I don't have a claim form. Can you send me some? And how long will it take to receive please? Can I give change to customers if they don't spend the entire voucher? The voucher must be used for Healthy Start foods to the value of the voucher, or put towards payment of Healthy Start foods of a higher value. You must give the full value of vouchers you take in payment for Healthy Start foods.
If you have a close relationship with a customer, you could agree to 'hold over' the unspent portion of a voucher until a later shop. If you do this you must ensure that this held over amount is used for Healthy Start foods only. For example, if you sell fresh and vegetables, why not suggest that the customer takes an apple or two to make up the full value of a voucher.
Can a customer have a whole tin of baby formula using one voucher, even though it costs more than the voucher value? As they did with the old milk tokens. If the formula is more than the voucher value the customer must pay the difference otherwise you will be taking a loss. There is no way for you to get payment back for the difference. I only get the odd voucher from my customers, should I continue with this scheme? It doesn't cost you anything to keep up your registration, and we are happy to pay for small numbers of vouchers at a time? New customers are coming onto the scheme all the time and may want to spend their vouchers with you.
I think the vouchers that a customer is bringing in may be forged or copied. What should I do? You should not accept any vouchers that you suspect may be copied or forged — look for the watermark. It is your responsibility to make sure you check vouchers carefully - we will not pay for forged or copied vouchers that you or your staff have accepted in error. My staff have accidentally accepted Healthy Start vouchers and I'm not registered. Can I claim my money back? If you are not registered you are not allowed to accept vouchers or claim payment for them. This is stated on the back of the vouchers themselves.
To register please complete an application form online or ring us for advice and we can send you a form in the post. All payments are made directly into your bank account by BACS transfer, which is in the Terms and Conditions of the scheme. This is a quicker, safer and more secure method of payment. What happens if my claim gets lost in the post on the way to the Healthy Start Reimbursement Unit?
Telephone us on for advice if you do not receive payment for any claim. A national online consultation with health and social care practitioners, service managers, commissioners, and user and advocacy groups 3. Additional focus group discussions and telephone interviews were conducted to include the views of women who did not speak English and those from Traveller communities 4. Setting The qualitative work with practitioners and women was conducted in two regions of England; Yorkshire and the Humber, and London, selected because of their large and diverse populations.
National online consultation A web-based questionnaire was developed from the study aims and objectives, the findings of the practitioner focus groups, the views of collaborators and stakeholders and the key informant user panel.
Evaluation of the views and experiences of women Recruitment An a priori sampling matrix guided purposive sampling to achieve maximum diversity of participants eligible for Healthy Start including women from specific groups such as teenagers, minority ethnic groups and those from urban and rural areas of high socio-economic disadvantage.
Participatory workshops Participatory workshops use a combination of activities aimed at facilitating participation and the sharing of opinions and perspectives in an environment free from hierarchy and officialdom [ 47 ]. Focus group discussions with women who did not speak English In March , three focus group discussions were held to enable inclusion of women who did not speak English, as they would have found it difficult to participate fully in the English-language workshops.
Telephone interviews with women from Traveller communities Specialist health visitors working with Traveller communities in a city in Yorkshire found it difficult to recruit women from those communities to a participatory workshop. Analysis The framework method [ 48 ] was used to analyse the research material. Importance of Healthy Start 2. Awareness of the programme 3. Opportunities for providing health-related and lifestyle information 4.
Eligibility 5. Application process 6. Using Healthy Start vouchers 7. Healthy Start vitamin supplements 8. Health Start and infant feeding 9. Education and training for healthcare practitioners All qualitative research material was coded deductively according to the nine themes. Table 1 Practitioner focus group participant roles.
Open in a separate window. Table 2 Summary of national online consultation participant roles. Evaluation of the views and experiences of women Altogether, women and four men took part in this phase of the study. Table 3 Evaluation of the views and experiences of women: participant characteristics. Overview of themes To answer our research question concerning the potential contribution of food vouchers to reducing nutritional inequalities for women and young children, we present relevant findings under two major themes. Accessibility of healthy start Eligibility There was consensus across participants that the eligibility criteria were clear for families who were in receipt of qualifying welfare benefits.
Comments included: When I was working I was worse off. Awareness of healthy start A key factor in whether eligible women register for Healthy Start and receive food vouchers is their awareness of the programme. Application process According to the reports of women and practitioners, the barriers to registering for Healthy Start described in the previous sections were exacerbated by a cumbersome application process.
In the week the vouchers come we can eat vegetables telephone interviewee from Traveller community The majority of women reported that the vouchers enabled them to buy better quality and a greater variety of fruit and vegetables. Get your kids used to it and demand it of you London workshop participant Several young mothers said that Healthy Start provided them with resources for food to which they would not otherwise have access. Yorkshire and Humber teenage workshop participant, urban While many women and practitioners felt that the vouchers made a difference to family budgets, there was consensus that the voucher value should keep pace with the rising cost of food, so that the potential to improve family diets was not undermined.
Accessing retail outlets Most women spent their vouchers at major supermarkets; for many this was the most convenient and cost-effective option. Sylheti-speaking focus group participant A related problem for many women was not knowing which retail outlets in their area were registered. Discussion Our results show that both beneficiaries and practitioners valued the contribution of Healthy Start food vouchers to improve the diets of pregnant women, mothers and young children under four years-old in low-income families. Methodological considerations We believe this is the most comprehensive evaluation of a food subsidy programme from the experiences of those both sides of the frontline i.
Conclusion Our evaluation of the Healthy Start programme in England suggests that a food subsidy programme can provide an important nutritional safety net and potentially improve nutrition for pregnant women and young children living on low incomes. Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
The role of race and poverty in access to foods that enable individuals to adhere to dietary guidelines. Prev Chronic Dis. Nutrition interventions in women in low-income groups in the UK. Proc Nutr Soc. Rights-based approaches to addressing food poverty and food insecurity in Ireland and UK. Soc Sci Med.
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Vitamins in Pregnancy and Healthy Start
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Age of youngest child in months. Highest educational qualification. A level. Maternity leave.