In the United States, if you can't pay your debts, you've got very few options: Bankruptcy is one. Debt consolidation is another. Getting hounded by debt collectors calling you night and day and making your life miserable is the third (although nobody picks that one voluntarily.)
They're more civilized in the UK, where difficulty paying bills doesn't mean financial ruin and torment by people making $7.17 per hour. In Great Britain, a debtor who's going through some troubles can enter into an IVA-- that's short for an "Individual Voluntary Arrangement," a neat system where a licensed insolvency practitioner works out a proposal to pay your debts over 3-5 years; upon agreement by 3/4 of your creditors, everything is frozen (no extra interest and the like) and you pay the debts off, lots of times with a discount.
There are still other options in the UK -- but I like the idea of an IVA.
Whatever options you're considering, if you want help with debt problems and you live in England or Wales, go to ClearDebt; they're the ones that can lay out all your options for you, help you pick the route that works best in your circumstances, and then make sure it's done right. ClearDebt even has an online test that takes just two minutes and will tell you whether they can help you -- so you'll find out just what relief you can get before you ever commit to anything.