Citizens' advice in general practice.BMJ 1993; 306 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.306.6891.1518 (Published 05 June 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:1518
OBJECTIVE--To examine the introduction of citizens advice bureau sessions into general practice. DESIGN--Prospective survey of 150 consecutive attenders. SETTING--10 Practices in south Birmingham that volunteered to participate. OUTCOME MEASURES--The social characteristics of the population attending, the problems presented, the social security and other payments obtained, and the health problems mentioned during the sessions. RESULTS--Advice requested covered the whole range offered by the citizens advice bureaus. Thirty nine of 150 attenders obtained payments totalling 58,300.58 pounds for year 1991-2, of which 54,929.58 pounds was recurring. People mentioning health problems were significantly more likely to be entitled to unclaimed benefits. CONCLUSIONS--The provision of citizens advice bureau sessions in general practice is an effective way of providing advice on life problems and securing proper payment of benefits, particularly to patients with health problems. This service complements rather than detracts from other citizens advice bureau activities.