Majority of nurses fear patients being vulnerable to scams

Community nurses are concerned about people in their care being vulnerable to financial scammers and want to be better prepared to deal with problems.

A survey conducted by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) found 91% of those asked believed some or many of their patients were at risk of being defrauded.

Only 8% believed they were already fully equipped to help prevent financial scams, with 93% of nurses saying they wanted to be better informed and more prepared.

The figures, contained in a survey of 289 community nurses, come ahead of an event in Edinburgh looking at safeguarding those at risk of financial abuse.

Representatives from Police Scotland, Age Scotland, Action on Elder Abuse and Trading Standards are among the speakers at the safeguarding seminar in the Grassmarket Centre on Thursday.

Professor Keith Brown, director of the National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work, said: “It is clear that criminals are increasingly targeting lonely elderly citizens to financially scam.

“These are yours and my relatives and neighbours and the impact of being scammed is devastating for these victims.

“Community nurses are critical in this area as they are often the only formal professionals visiting the elderly in the community.

“The training resources we are launching today are designed to help community nurses spot and identify those at risk of being scammed and to ensure they know what steps and actions to take to support their clients.

“With £10 billion of fraud committed per year in the UK we simply cannot ignore this problem it is of a vast scale often hidden away but has devastating consequences.”

Clare Cable, chief executive and nurse director of QNIS, said: “Most victims of financial abuse can ill-afford the monetary loss, and this can mean insufficient money for rent, food, bills and other necessities. These losses can adversely affect physical and mental health.

“Community nurses can identify the early warning signals of financial abuse and explore what’s true with the people in their care.

“They may either signpost sources of help, or (if warranted) alert safeguarding teams, the police, and trading standards. Nurses are well-placed to help people whose wellbeing has been harmed by scamming.”