A pilot project embedding a financial advice worker in GP surgeries in the east end of Glasgow has resulted in an extra £850,000 going into people’s pockets, according to a report.
The Deep End advice worker pilot project placed an adviser from the Greater Easterhouse Money Advice Project (Gemap) into two GP practices in Parkhead.
An evaluation of the project has been carried out by Building Connections – one of the organisations involved in the initiative – and it has been published by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
The analysis found that 276 referrals were made to the advice worker between December 2015 and May this year, with 165 engaging with the service.
The evaluation concluded that those using the services made a median financial gain of almost £7,000 per person per year through “income maximisation” – making sure that people are getting the benefits they are entitled to and at the right level.
This resulted in an overall financial gain totalling nearly £850,000, according to the study.
In addition, the project also led to £156,000 worth of debt being properly managed, reducing costs for some patients.
Report author Jamie Sinclair, Building Connections’ programme manager, said “Our emphasis on embedding the advice worker into the everyday practice through normalising their presence in the practices clearly paid dividends and resulted in significant engagement from the practices.
“This, in conjunction with the perception of general practices as a trusted and neutral community venue contributed to high levels of people accessing Gemap’s services for the first time and ultimately, significant economic gain for local community members engaging with the support.”
The project is part of an initiative involving the Wheatley Group, GPs at the Deep End, Gemap, the NHS North East Health Improvement Team, Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) and Building Connections.
Advice services have been rolled out to other practices following the pilot scheme. An extra seven GP practices in the east end of Glasow now have an embedded adviser, meaning a total of nine practices are currently offering the service.