Welfare Rights Advisers in GP surgeries – Dundee

Dundee City Council’s Advice Team successfully co-located welfare rights advisers in GP practices, becoming an integrated part of the service for patients in their local communities.

Patients’ concerns are often wrapped up alongside money worries and how they can afford to meet needs that stem from their medical conditions. Linking early with people when illness or disability strikes, the advisers used the access to medical records facilitated by co-location to secure over £1.5 million in extra income in the initiative’s first 5 years, helping to improve health and wellbeing, reduce stress and provide funds for improved diet.

The project links with client need at a much earlier stage than is traditionally the case, frontloading assistance and linking the patient’s case immediately to their medical records. The service is free and GPs do not charge the advisers for use of their rooms. Working side by side, NHS and Council services can tackle patients’ medical and socio-economic needs. Benefit applications include more detailed information and allow decision makers to make informed assessments with less need for reviews or appeals.

Results far exceed those from traditional advice work. For every £1 spent on the service, £38 has been generated in client financial gains, compared to traditional advice service returns of £12-15 per £ spent. This initiative won the Chair’s award at the COSLA Excellence Awards.