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Public Health. 2011 Oct;125(10):704-10. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Citizens advice in primary care: a qualitative study of the views and experiences of service users and staff.

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School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield S1 4DA, UK.



To examine the views and experiences of staff and users of Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) services located in general practice, and to identify key factors perceived as contributing to the intervention's effectiveness.


A qualitative study in an urban and rural primary care setting in the UK.


Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews (n = 22) with primary care and practice staff, CAB advisors and 12 service users.


Key positive service features reported by all groups were: the confidential, non-stigmatizing and familiar environment of a general practitioner's (GP) surgery; the ability to make appointments and experienced advisor availability and continuity. Outcomes for service users were described as financial gain, managed debt, and beneficial social and mental health impacts. Perceived staff benefits were appropriate referral and better use of GP consultation time.


Welfare advice in primary care has financial benefits and was perceived by participants to offer health and other benefits to patients and staff. However, while perceptions of gain from the intervention were evident, demonstration of measurable health improvement and well-being presents challenges. Further empirical work is needed in order to explore these complex cause-effect links and the cost-effectiveness of the intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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