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CAB surgeries planned for doctors' patients

Posted: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:59

Loughborough Echo 13/4/2016
By Matt Jarram

Citizens Advice Bureau officers are working with the public inside five local doctors' surgeries as part of a ground-breaking project.
Doctors are referring patients to the service after an appointment, which aims to help them battle problems with housing and benefits that have led to conditions such as depression. The project is funded by West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (WLCCG) and run by Charnwood Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), based at Woodgate in Loughborough. Bina Sakaria, case worker at CAB, said the project is about getting to the heart of the underlying issues and to reduce the time that GPs spend with patients tackling these complex issues.

She told the Echo: "We have found that a lot of our clients have severe mental health problems. These people need continuity. They will take a lot longer with doctors, such as if they are suffering with problems at work, they will talk about work and doctors do not always have that type of time. "People are being given anti-depressants but we need to find the underlying issues". "One client was struggling with work and looking after elderly parents so he gave up work, we helped him sort his problems out". "We can spend an hour with them and that costs less than a GP's hour".

The project is being funded for six months and is based at six GP surgeries. This service does not affect the work carried out at its Woodgate base.
The surgeries involved are: Barrow Health Centre (Monday 9.30am); Highgate Medical Centre, Sileby (Monday 2pm); Field Street Surgery, Shepshed (fortnightly – Wednesday 9.30am); Woodbrook Medical Centre, Loughborough (fortnightly – Thursday 1pm); and Rosebery Medical Centre, Loughborough (Wednesday 1pm).

Doctors will refer patients to the service once they have had an appointment. Problems tackled include welfare benefits, housing matters, employment issues, relationship breakdown, debt management and utility issues. The advice is free, independent, confidential and impartial. CAB will see on average 10 patients a day. The majority of these patients are suffering with depression.

Bina added: "It is working really well. At the end of the project we will see if it has made a difference to the GPs workload. We can save the GPs time and reduce some of the visits". "If you are going through a relationship breakdown it is very traumatic and you could feel down and low – what to do with money, housing and children and having us there could help with the practical side of things".

Tags: Charnwood Citizens Advice, doctors' surgeries, depression