GPs can unlock state benefits for patients, says charity

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 05 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1270
  1. Rebecca Coombes
  1. 1London

Millions of extra pounds in state benefit are claimed when family doctors act as the intermediaries between elderly patients and welfare advice agencies, evidence has shown.

Using data gathered from general practices in England, the charity Age Concern has estimated that £58m (€73m; $113m) of benefits were claimed in 2006 as a result of people receiving advice in healthcare settings. The extra take-up in state support was achieved despite the fact that only 10% of general practices, 889 surgeries, are linked to a benefits advice service.

The report found that an estimated 1.7 million of eligible older people, often some of the poorest and most vulnerable people, have failed to apply for pension credit, often because they don’t realise they are entitled …

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