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Healthcare cards

We have produced ‘My right to access healthcare’ cards to help adults who are homeless to register and receive treatment at GP practices in London.

 

People who are homeless have told us that strict access requirements – such as being asked to provide proof of address and ID – are a key barrier to them accessing primary health care in GP practices.

The plastic cards are designed to be carried by adults who are homeless across London, including people who sleep rough, live in hostels, sleep on family and friend’s sofas, or who are chronically insecurely housed.

They can be used to remind GP receptionists and other practice staff of the national patient registration guidance from NHS England. It states:

  • People do not need a fixed address or identification to register or access treatment at GP practices
  • Where necessary, the practice may use the practice’s address to register the patient if they wish.

Visit NHS England’s website to read the national guidance in Chapter 4 of the Primary Medical Care Policy and Guidance manual

Since December 2016, 60,000 cards have been delivered to shelters, day centres, food banks, drop in centres and other organisations across London.

Flyers have also been produced with bigger letters and format for people with eye sight problems. Download and print the large-print flyer: My right to access healthcare – large print A6 flyer

An online training course for GP receptionists and practice managers in London is now available. It covers the specific issues faced by patients who are homeless; best practice in supporting and treating them and service access rights and engagement.

Go to our homeless health e-learning page to watch the film and complete the short course of questions.

The average age of death for people who sleep rough on the streets is almost half that of the general population. They often have complex co-morbidities, and are much less likely to be registered with a GP and much more likely to use A&E services.

Organisations in London may wish to print the ‘My rights to access healthcare’ cards themselves. Please use the following print versions of the card. We welcome other areas adapting the cards for local use but please remember that if you are going to use any organisation’s logo you will need to get their agreement to reproduce it.

The cards have been produced in partnership with Healthwatch London and homeless charity Groundswell. If you would like to know more about the cards and how to share them, please email info@groundswell.org.uk

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