Homeless Health Project

Paul Griggs, our senior support worker and also homeless health care navigator, has been working closely with the local NHS on a pilot Homeless Health Project. Our staff are now able to refer people to a dedicated GP practice which reserves on-the-day appointments specifically for homeless people. Also as part of the project, we have been hosting health drop-ins on our premises, sometimes at our night shelter. Our guests are able to talk to nurses and doctors about sexual health and TB.

How did it start?

In 2015 Wycombe Homeless Connection partnered with Bucks New Uni and other local agencies to conduct a homeless health audit.This concluded that money spent on a targeted homeless health service would be of value to the community. The service officially began in October 2017 when a local GP surgery received funding from the local Clinical Commissioning Group in order to offer flexible and extra length appointments for homeless people. Wycombe Homeless Connection also received money to employ a Care Navigator to ensure a coordination of care for homeless individuals across services.

After Paul Griggs took on this position he:

• led a series of homeless health drop-in sessions
• coordinated a monthly inter-agency meeting by bringing together a number of relevant agencies with an interest in improving the health of homeless people
• visited discharge teams in local hospitals
• worked on a one-to-one basis with individuals whose health issues acted as a major barrier to moving on from homelessness or put them at risk of housing instability

Did you know?

It has long been recognised that homelessness is associated with enormous health inequalities. During the winter of 2017/18, for instance, The Guardian conducted research into the deaths of rough sleepers and found that the average age of death was 43 years old – approximately thirty years younger than the general population. We plan to keep developing this area of our work so we can help to minimise these health discrepancies.