The homeless community: breaking down the barriers to primary care

The number of homeless adults on our streets is increasing which, due to their associated health problems, is causing increasing demand and inefficiencies on the National Health Service (NHS). Currently the homeless are experiencing inequalities of healthcare due to a lack of access to primary care. As a consequence, there has been an increasing use of secondary care, which has become the preferred provider of healthcare for the homeless community. Homeless health is often complex involving tri morbidity and although legislation already exists to embrace these needs within current models of primary care, they are not being met. Innovative and specific healthcare models are needed in order to access this disengaged community. This project is focussed on delivering an accessible primary care clinic specifically for the homeless community. The project will deliver improved efficiencies and reduced costs for the NHS, including ambulance services, which will benefit the wider community and reduce the inequalities of health currently being experienced. It is hypothesised that this increased provision of primary care to the homeless demographic will result in reduced morbidity and mortality, improved health and a more efficient NHS which is vital in the current climate of austerity and uncertainty.

Chris Riley
International Paramedic Practice, August 18, 2017