Key features of referral pathways

To ensure a financial inclusion referral pathway is effective, there are a number of key features that should be considered. Here you can find information on some that relate to

  • health services together with money and welfare services
  • health services
  • money and welfare services.

For health services together with money and welfare services

Key features that both health and money and welfare services should consider are

  • formal partnership arrangements between both services
  • person-centred, accessible and sensitive approaches to the needs of patients, children and families with children
  • undertake enquiry and the provision of advice within familiar and non stigmatising settings which people trust (such as a health centre)
  • formal and secure transferring of patient information between both services.

For health services

Key features that health services should consider are 

  • universal and routine financial inclusion enquiry - ask all patients about money worries as part of the routine assessment of their care and offer a referral to a money advice service (this helps alleviate any potential stigma or people being missed)
  • the recording, monitoring and reporting of relevant data on the inquiry, referral and patient outcomes within existing health systems, where possible, rather than creating new ones. 

An approach known as CARE has been developed to describe universal and routine financial inclusion enquiry. The short animation below from the improvement service (external site) explains this further. 

For money and welfare services

Key features that money and welfare services should consider are to

  • make proactive contact with the person referred
  • cover all aspects of income maximization - such as welfare benefits, debt resolution, housing problems, employability support and representation at tribunals
  • link patients into other sources of support as appropriate 
  • employ money advisors who are accredited under the Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers and registered with, and regulated by, the Financial Conduct Authority and covered by professional indemnity insurance
  • ensure a person sees the same worker throughout the entire process - providing continuity of care and support in order to get the best outcome.

Where possible, it's also important to enable money advisors to have direct access to patient medical records when producing reports in support of benefit applications and to discuss these with GPs to ensure accuracy. This reduces the number of mandatory reconsiderations and appeals and ensures people receive the welfare benefits, they are entitled to, before reaching crisis point.