A new mobile GP service has launched this week helping the City of London’s homeless and rough sleepers.
The City of London Corporation, which governs the Square Mile, has teamed up with Doctors of the World UK (DOTW), to run the service.
Volunteer GPs and nurses will offer advice on health conditions, register patients with local GP practices, dress wounds, carry out foot assessments, provide new socks and gloves and offer screenings for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
DOTW, an independent humanitarian movement, which works to empower vulnerable people to access healthcare, is running the six-month pilot, delivering primary healthcare to rough sleepers in the City.
Visitors will be offered hot drinks and refreshments and referred to other support services, such as dentists, opticians, and drug and alcohol teams.
Homeless and rough sleeping women will be offered period products and referred to a women-only clinic.
The pilot service will run on a weekly basis.
Marianne Fredericks, Chairman of City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing Board said:
“We know that rough sleepers experience a whole host of barriers when it comes to accessing proper healthcare.
“Doctors of the World provides fantastic support for the most vulnerable in our society, and this pioneering service will be invaluable for the Square Mile’s homeless population.
“Together we are supporting them with medical care in a safe environment, and helping them get off the streets for good.”
Durga Sivasathiaseelan, NHS GP and Mobile Clinic Coordinator said:
“It is incredibly hard for people experiencing homelessness and sleeping rough to access healthcare. And when diseases go untreated, they can worsen dramatically and affect people’s long-term health.
“This is particularly true for those who are experiencing street homelessness or live in unstable accommodation, where their lives can be chaotic, making it more challenging to address health needs.
“Accessing healthcare becomes less of a priority when you are worried about where you are going to sleep and if it will be safe and warm.
“Our volunteer doctors and nurses and support workers will provide medical consultations, help patients’ register with a GP and access other mainstream NHS services.
“The mobile nature of this clinic will allow us to reach the most vulnerable people in the City in a way that is flexible to their needs.”
Dr Mark Rickets, Chair of NHS City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Supporting and doing all we can to provide health and care services to some of the most vulnerable people living on our streets, is crucial to reduce inequalities.
“By working with an organisation like Doctors of the World UK, we can hopefully reach individuals that may not have had any other opportunity to access services, and in turn improve their quality of life in some way.”
Earlier this year the City of London Corporation launched an alternative giving campaign to encourage people to donate £3 at a time to homelessness charity Beam, by tapping their debit and credit cards on contactless devices located around the City.
If you would like to know how you can get involved in the campaign, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org