An additional 20,000 ‘my right to access healthcare’ cards are being distributed to organisations working with people who are homeless – with the cards also featuring at the Museum of Homelessness at the Tate Modern.
The cards, produced in partnership with homeless charity Groundswell and London Healthwatch, aim to help people who are homeless to register and receive treatment at GP practices.
The event brought together a mix of perspectives on homelessness and included debates, displays and stories about what is happening in hostels, day centres, social housing and on the streets.
In total, 40,000 cards have now been sent out to 134 organisations across London, including day centres, outreach centres, winter night shelters and soup kitchens.
Feedback received by Groundswell about the healthcare cards has been positive. Organisations who have received cards have said they found them very useful in supporting people to register and agreed that they increased awareness of the rules around registering with a GP.
One respondent said: “Our service users love them, they feel like they are the key to getting help! They often ask for more for their friends. They don’t always understand that they are entitled to the help (often because of language) so they look at the cards as the ‘permission’ that we have given them to access the help.”
Another respondent said: “I have three clients who’ve registered with local practices as a result of being in receipt of the cards.”
Almost 900 people have also completed the online training for GP receptionists and practice managers which we launched in March.
The new training, produced in partnership with homeless health charity Pathway, aims to support GP receptionists and practice managers to ensure anyone experiencing homelessness can get the care they need. The training includes a film, slide pack and quiz.
The London Homeless Health Programme is also meeting with homeless health commissioners at London CCGs to help them think through how to apply the commissioning guidance published in December. Please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to set up a meeting.