Bideford Medical Centre GP Surgery & Citizens Advice partnership

22/10/18

An exciting new project where advice and information can be found at GP surgeries, has recently been launched.

Local leading advice charity, Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon, are delighted to announce the new one year pilot project in Bideford Medical Practice which will be offering social support to patients. 

A report from National Citizens Advice & The Royal College of General Practitioners says that it is not uncommon for around one in four GP patient appointments to be due to social rather than medical causes. Poverty, money, relationship, domestic violence and social isolation issues are just a few of the underlying factors that can lead to increased stress and anxiety in patients. 
This project aims to help tackle underlying factors affecting patient well-being. By intervening at this early stage, this service will help to reduce patients from reaching a more critical stage of crisis, therefore reducing the demand on GP and NHS services.

Friends of Bideford Medical Centre have funded the project, which means the Bideford Medical Centre can now offer patients an appointment with an advice specialist in the surgery.

Vicki Rowe CEO, Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid and West Devon said: “Evidence from similar pilots hosted by Citizens Advice Liverpool and Citizens Advice Guildford have demonstrated that ‘prescribing advice’ to patients with non-medical health issues can help improve the health and wellbeing of patients who are exhibiting signs of stress, anxiety or early stages of depression.

“The key to successful outcomes for these clients, is for access to the most appropriate sources of help as quickly as possible.  Evidence shows that locating Citizens Advice services within GP practices significantly increases the likelihood of clients accessing advice.  For many, the visit to the GP has been made because doctors are trusted and the location is familiar to the patient.”

Dr Glenys Knight, Senior GP Partner at Bideford Medical Centre said " As GPs we play a crucial role at the frontline of the health service and are increasingly under pressure. We see first-hand the ways that people’s health and wellbeing are affected by circumstances in their lives. Many people come to see their GP with practical and personal issues that could be helped by  Citizens Advice.  We are delighted to be working in partnership with Citizens Advice to offer our patients this service and grateful to The Friends of Bideford Medical Centre for funding the project."

During the advice session, the adviser will use Citizens Advice’s diagnostic tools to help the client explore, identify and start to resolve problems that are causing stress and anxiety.  The experienced adviser will provide advice, information and a signposting service.

For more details about the project contact: vicki.rowe@ruraldevoncab.org.uk
ENDS

Editors notes

  1. The Citizens Advice service is a network of independent charities that helps people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.  For more information see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  2. The advice provided is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone.
  3. Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers
  4. Advice and information is available from www.citizensadvice.org.uk
  5. Advice and information is also available by calling the Citizens Advice helpline on 03444 111 444  between 9.30am and 4pm, Monday - Friday
  6. Citizens Advice Torridge is based at Bideford Office is situated at the top of Bridgeland Street in Bideford, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday (10am to 3pm)
  7. Information about Citizens Advice Torridge, North, Mid & West Devon (TNMWD) is available on http://www.ruraldevoncab.org.uk/