A GP practice in Heywood has become one of the first in the country to pledge to provide care for the homeless.
The Hopwood Medical Centre on Walton Street has agreed to become Homeless-Friendly, which means that all patients receive quality treatment regardless of whether or not they have a permanent address.
It comes after rough sleepers in some parts of the country reported they were being refused medical attention because they couldn’t prove residency.
Launched last year by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and created by national health campaigner Dr Zahid Chauhan, the programme encourages surgeries to treat those sleeping on the streets with compassion and also help them access housing, training and addiction services.
Charities and housing and health organisations were among the guests welcomed to a market place showcase in #Bury.
Organised by Bury #Homeless Partnership, the event was also attended by people with experience of homelessness and was designed to advertise public services available to everyone from rough sleepers to those housed in B&Bs.
As a pivotal partner in a new Bury homelessness scheme to offer first-class healthcare we were there, and particularly pleased to meet up with:
The Bury Probation Service
Adullam Homes (a specialist provider of quality housing and support services)
Yale Housing (not for profit housing association)
Charity Bury Red Door (Caritas)
Rachel House (offering housing support to assist and sustain independent living)
Re>Build (charity helping to provide affordable furniture and skills to people living in disadvantaged situations)
Healthwatch Bury (consumer guide to health and social care)
Homeless-Friendly encourages organisations to publicly pledge to offer the very best services to those without a permanent address.
BURY has become the first borough in Britain to guarantee homeless people will receive urgent medical attention.
GP services across the town have signed up to an initiative, launched by Homeless Friendly and Bury Council, which will see rough sleepers, sofa-surfers and others around the town given a card advertising a phone number for BARDOC, which they can call 24 hours a day.
Homeless people often struggle to see a doctor because they have no permanent address and find it difficult to register at a practice.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, founder of Homeless Friendly, added: “It is a great initiative. Bury Council has set a model for the rest of the authorities across the country.
Gail Sutcliffe is a qualified registered Social Worker who lives within Greater Manchester, having over 35 years’ experience of working in Local Authority settings at Tameside and Bury Council. Working initially in Residential Care, as a hospital and field social worker then becoming a manager of front line services. Gail also has experience of being a Registered Manager for services registered by the Care Quality Commission(CQC)
Gail specialises in working with vulnerable adults and for the last 8 years has worked with homeless people. Initially managing a hostel for homeless families and individuals then managing a dispersed model of temporary accommodation for homeless people and latterly managing housing advice and assessment services as well as a dispersed portfolio of properties. Gail has experience of working closely with the 10 authorities which make up Greater Manchester and has been actively involved in projects relating to street homeless people.
Gail has a wealth of experience of supporting our most vulnerable people within our communities and feels that its paramount that homeless people are aware of their rights and are supported to maximise opportunities. Homeless friendly helps to ensure that professionals have the tools and knowledge to support homeless people.
An Oldham doctor is urging the Government to use the New Year to find a sustainable solution to homelessness.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, who set up Homeless-Friendly with NHS Greater Manchester practices, has produced a UK Parliamentary petition to persuade politicians to act.
“The UK Government is totally behind-the-door when it comes to homelessness” said Dr Chauhan.
“The Welsh Assembly Government and the Mayor of Manchester have already made firm commitments on homelessness – but what has Westminster done?
MEDICS go out of their way to administer flu jabs for the homeless and vulnerable.
A team from the newly established Homeless-Friendly scheme is touring various homeless charities and drop-in sessions throughout December.
Their latest flu jab clinic took place at the Salvation Army’s Oldham base in Roundthorn Road, as part of the church’s long-established Friday drop-in session.
During their visit, the team met a man who was left with just six teeth after 20 months of living on the streets.
ANYONE heading outdoors this winter will see people wrapped up warm in big coats, scarves and hats, blocking out the chill.
But not everyone can find that comfort from the cold.
As winter approaches, health campaigners are encouraging fellow Boltonians to look out and show some care for vulnerable residents.
A campaign has been launched to get people hot on recognising the signs of hypothermia this winter to stop old folks in their homes and rough sleepers on the streets from perishing.
Greater Manchester health campaigner Dr Zahid Chauhan believes a cold snap could prove fatal for hypothermia people.
The creator of the Homeless-Friendly programme wants neighbours to check regularly on the elderly to ensure they are keeping their homes heated at above 18 degrees Celsius.
Three local surgeries and a town centre charity are amongst the first organisations in the country to promise to be Homeless-Friendly.
In the company of Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd, The Dale Medical Practice, Nye Bevan House, plus The Strand and Bowness Road Family Practices, Middleton, pledged to examine their policies and procedures and ensure they cater for the homeless.
They were joined by The Sanctuary Trust, Drake Street, whose expertise in caring for rough sleepers will be shared with the programme’s other pioneering partners who include a café, a local council, several surgeries, Rochdale’s out-of-hours medical service BARDOC and a training charity.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, creator of Homeless-Friendly said: “The problem of homelessness is complex and different in every area. The Dale Street Medical Practice will experience town centre homelessness while our Middleton practices might encounter the “hidden homeless” – those living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or sofa surfing at friends’ houses.
AN Oldham restaurant has become the first eatery in the UK to pledge to be homeless-friendly as it opens its doors to rough sleepers for a balanced wholesome meal.
Cafe Lahore, on Union Street, Oldham, will provide a meal for homeless people after its lunchtime buffet using fresh foods that otherwise would have been left to waste.
Owner Wasim Aslam said he has long been aware of town centre homelessness, but has noticed a particular rise in rough sleepers in the past 18 months.
He said: “We’ve always had the odd knock on the door from a homeless person and have been happy to help them.