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Integrating money advice workers into primary care settings: an evaluation

Date: January 2019
Category: Report
Author: James Egan, Oonagh Robison

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Accessing money advice services in GP practices has only been tested on a small scale in Glasgow. Yet, the city has 80 of the 100 “Deep End” GP practices serving the most deprived populations in Scotland. Initial learning from two local practices supported this study which looked at integrating advice services in nine Deep End practices across north east Glasgow over a 12-month period.

This new study found that GPs took the lead in referrals, which totalled 654 people. The majority were living below a standard poverty measure and often had no past contact with advice services. There were £1.5 million in gains with successful claims for disability-related benefits making up half of the gains. Support to manage household debts totalled £470,000 with rent and council tax arrears significant debts. The main reasons people accepted support from other services was homelessness and housing, followed by mental health. The return on investment was £25 for every £1 invested, which was a conservative estimate.

The current system allows all healthcare staff across northeast Glasgow (including those working in 35 GP practices) to make money advice referrals. Yet, we found that the nine GP practices in this study achieved the equivalent of more than half of all advice referrals achieved over a similar timescale.  

Demand for money advice is likely to increase with further welfare cuts predicted, so scaling up and resourcing this approach could ensure that all staff across Glasgow will help reduce practices’ workloads and strengthen efforts to tackle the city’s high levels of poverty and persistent health inequalities.

Related blog: At the Deep End: integrating money advice workers into GP practices.