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20 years of Citizens Advice

 
Created on 02/12/2016 @ 09:59
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Powys Citizens Advice is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their advice service delivered to GP surgeries in Montgomeryshire. 

The Prescribing Citizens Advice service started in October 1996 and the first CAB generalist  appointment session was held at Welshpool Medical Centre, with sessions at Montgomery and Llanfair Caereinion Medical Centres following shortly afterwards. 

The service came into being after Montgomeryshire Community Health Council approached what was then Montgomeryshire District CAB in 1994, on behalf of Welshpool Medical Practice, about the provision of CAB advice sessions in a general practice setting. 

At the time GPs were being called upon frequently to assist patients with problems such as issues to do with welfare benefits, debt, relationship breakdown, problems at work and housing which were affecting their health but which were not strictly medical problems. 

It was felt that the addition of CAB expertise to the resources of the primary health care teams would improve patients’ general health and well-being and could offer potential for health gains.  Prescribing Citizens Advice also improved access to generalist advice, especially for those who are elderly, disabled or who have long term health problems.

The CAB GP service, now called Better Advice Better Health, currently funded by Welsh Government with a contribution from Powys Teaching Health Board, is delivered to Llanfyllin, Welshpool, Llanidloes, Presteigne, Llandrindod Wells, Llanwrtyd Wells and Talgarth Medical Centres and is available to all registered patients.

 As one GP commented “The input from CAB has become an integral part of care.  I struggle to imagine how we would manage without the service.”

In the last financial year Better Advice Better Health assisted clients on a total of 1046 issues and helped them to achieve £255,321 in benefit gains. 

One client commented “Due to my poor mobility and being a full time carer for my wife, who has Alzheimer’s, it would have been impossible for me to visit a CAB on the high street.”  Another said “It was easy to see a CAB adviser through my local surgery as I was there to see my GP, and it was natural to see CAB there.”  

Caption:

Alison Schmeinck, CAB caseworker, Dr Declan Ryan, retired GP and Powys CAB Trustee, Christine Brown, Operations Manager Welshpool Medical Practice, Carol Thomas, retired Practice Manager and Powys CAB Trustee and Pam Clayton, CAB Volunteer Adviser celebrate 20 years of CAB advice at Welshpool Surgery.

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