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GPs In Bury Offer Medical Care To Homeless

People sleeping rough in Bury will be able to access medical facilities as part of the Homeless-Friendly scheme in the area.

More than 20 health practices have joined the initiative to open their doors to homeless people in the borough, including Birches Medical Centre in Prestwich, Bury Times revealed.

Practice manager at the Birches Medical Centre Jan Rogers said: “Homeless-Friendly has made us more aware of the problems the homeless face and alerted us to their needs. It will also help us to signpost patients to others who can help them.”

This includes the challenge they have in attending appointments when they do not have a watch or phone, or filling in an address on registration forms when they are homeless.

The scheme was launched in 2017 to provide medical care to those without a fixed address, as well as help them find a way out of their problem of having nowhere to sleep.

The medical centre has enrolled its staff on training courses to provide better addiction support, advice on job hunting, offer shelter, and potentially establishing a food bank in the surgery in the future.

Birches Medical Centre joins a long list of healthcare facilities in the borough that are trying to support rough sleepers. In 2018, Bury also provided cards to homeless people offering them access to healthcare day or night, becoming the first local authority in the UK to do this.

It is essential more homeless people have access to medical facilities, as Homeless-Friendly claims 73 per cent have experienced physical health problems in the past, with 41 per cent suffering from a long-term condition.

Mental health problems are also a big issue among rough sleepers, and those living on the streets are nine times more likely to commit suicide than anyone else.

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