Pilot scheme launched to help homeless in Doncaster access GP services

A Doncaster charity has teamed up with the borough's GPs to launch a pilot programme that aims to help homeless people access GP services.

A Doncaster charity has teamed up with the borough's GPs to launch a pilot programme that aims to help homeless people access GP services.

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A Doncaster charity has teamed up with the borough's GPs to launch a pilot programme that aims to help homeless people access GP services.

The programme - entitled StreetDoctor - has been launched by the M25 Housing & Support Group.

Nigel Walker, services development manager at M25 Housing & Support Group said: “Healthcare is a basic human right but for vulnerable homeless people, who suffer from some of society’s worst health problems, getting equal access to mainstream healthcare is a major problem. The result? Their health and their lives are at risk.

“Homeless people are far more likely – 57 per cent of individuals accessing M25’s services – not to be registered with a GP compared to the average person and often end up turning to A&E because they are unable to access a GP.

“This puts a strain not only on the NHS – visits to A&E costs three times more than a trip to a GP – but also the homeless person as they frequently leave a health problem until it reaches crisis point. This can have irreversible effects, cause damage or even death.”

“All of this can be avoided by giving homeless people access to an GP. That’s where the StreetDoctor service comes in.

“We’ve teamed up with local GPs to pilot StreetDoctor to offer anyone who is not registered with a GP the choice to visit the StreetDoctor (no appointment is necessary), where they can have a full health check, referral on to NHS specialist services, plus register with a GP to ensure long-term access for the ongoing healthcare they require.

“In addition, NHS (RDaSH) TB Nursing and Drug & Alcohol services will also be present to offer specialist advice and support to anyone who attends.”

StreetDoctor will open on Saturday, October 8 from 9am to 5pm at M25 Housing & Support Group’s main offices at 2-6 Sunny Bar (the old Doncaster Free Press offices) in Doncaster town centre.

For more information, contact Nigel on 01320 361777 or email: nwalker@m25group.org.uk