More than 95,000 Trafford patients struggling with money worries are now able to access a dedicated debt service due to a new partnership between Citizens Advice Trafford, Altrincham Healthcare Alliance Primary Care Network and North Trafford Primary Care Network.  

The six month pilot programme, running until March 2022, aims to relieve the stress and anxiety linked to financial fears by providing help around managing debt, budgeting, bankruptcy issues, applying for a 60 day breathing space from creditors, bailiff action, rent arrears, eviction and benefits support.  

Working through the Social Prescribing teams which support GP practices, the pilot service will enable patients of Altrincham Medical Practice, Park Medical Practice, Shay Lane Medical Centre, St Johns Medical Centre, West Timperley Medical Centre, Delamere Medical Practice, Limelight Health and Wellbeing Hub, North Trafford Group Practice and Lostock Medical Centre to swiftly access dedicated advisors at Citizens Advice Trafford. 

Dave Oglaza, Debt Team Manager at Citizens Advice Trafford said: “Not only will we be able to help people with debt, housing and other financial issues impacting on their wellbeing, we hope to reduce dependence on health services too. If this is successful, it could pave the way for similar schemes to run in more Trafford Primary Care Networks and other areas.” 

Sarah Warman, Lead Social Prescriber with Altrincham Healthcare Alliance PCN, said:  

“We have seen an increase in those struggling with mental health and wellbeing issues due to the impact of the pandemic, including anxiety surrounding furlough and job losses. Having swift access to dedicated advisors will enable better support for those in financial crisis.” 

North Trafford PCN’s social prescribing link workers Emily Doncaster and Aoife Ritchie added: “Social prescribing is one of the biggest cultural shifts in health and social care for many years and North Trafford PCN is delighted to have the opportunity to work so closely with Trafford Citizens Advice. We support a large case-load of patients who face some of the greatest health inequalities in the region and which medicine alone cannot fix.” 

Eligible patients can access this service by contacting their Social Prescribing teams via their GP practice.