A pilot scheme that offers people free advice services at a number of local Guildford GP surgeries has been a great success, and will now continue and be expanded.
This includes The Oaks Surgery at Park Barn and the surgery in Stoughton Road, Bellfields, both run by the Guildowns Group Practice.
Set up by Guildford Advice Services (itself a project to promote collaboration between advice agencies in the borough) the one-year nine-month pilot was launched in February 2015. Advisors from Guildford Citizens Advice have been offering their services at four Guildford GP surgeries.
Now, with funding for a further year from the Guildford & Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group and Guildford Borough Council, there will be sessions at the following GP surgeries:
Mondays: alternate weeks at Merrow Park Surgery (clients do not need to be registered as patients at the surgery), and The Villages Medical Centre in Send (clients need to be registered as patients at the surgery).
Tuesdays: The Oaks Surgery, Park Barn (clients have to be registered as patients to the Guildown Group’s practice).
Wednesdays: Wonersh Surgery (clients do not need to be registered with the surgery).
Thursdays: Stoughton Road, Bellfields (clients have to be registered as patients to the Guildown Group’s practice).
All sessions are free and are with trained personnel from Guildford Citizens Advice. They are held between 1.30pm and 4.30pm on the days specified (1pm to 4pm at The Villages Medical Centre). There are four 45-minute slots available each afternoon (four 30-minute appointments at The Villages Medical Centre), booked by reception staff at each surgery.
Amanda Creese is the advisor at the sessions. She said: “I am seeing issues and problems that are arising with people on a low wage and in particular helping clients applying for disability benefits. There are those who, under the new Personal Independence Payment system, fear losing payments for a car or mobility scooter, therefore losing their independence. I support people and help them with their applications to get in monetary terms what they deserve.”