Vulnerable people can bank on surgeries for food support From 18 April 2019, NHS surgeries across Greater Manchester will be aiding poverty-struck patients – by staging food banks on their premises. Thanks to Homeless-Friendly, which has already fundamentally changed the way practices treat rough sleepers, Homeless Friendly will support GP Practices to set up their own Food Bank by supplying a box of food and essentials which will be placed in surgeries. We will offer guidance as to how to run the food bank and templates to promote the food bank. With recent research showing that 57% of children were showing signs of hunger, Homeless Friendly founder Dr Zahid Chauhan believes practices can help alleviate the social stigma of poverty and the dire health problems associated with poor diet. “I see for myself each day the mental and physical affects of poverty. And that includes in Great Britain in 2019, malnutrition” said national health campaigner and GP, Dr Chauhan. “Perhaps people will say that we have come to a pretty point when practices have to try and help feed the hungry. But with community centres disappearing and pubs and places of worship closing, they are one of the last remaining hubs of the community.” Homeless Friendly practices as far afield as Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, Bury, Gorton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale and Stockport will be encouraged to place a box within their surgery (for a full list of Homeless-Friendly supporters go to: https://www.homelessfriendly.co.uk/our-supporters/. Practices will then: Ask their patients and staff to supply food and hygiene products going forwards. Clearly display a poster about the food bank, stating what kind of items are required (including information on best before dates and ring-pulls). Work with their local authority to make sure that food supplied is compliant. Staff will also discretely be aware of who is using the food bank and if they have any worries about a particular patient’s health and well-being, report those concerns to their GP confidentially. “It has been well documented what the impact of a non-nutritious diet is in terms of obesity” concluded Dr Chauhan, “but the disastrous results of not eating or poor nourishment also needs addressing. More than that, it is morally repugnant that any person should lack the means to feed themselves. By staging a food bank, surgeries are not only improving health but taking a lead in raising awareness of the crippling poverty many people are now living in.” Homeless Friendly is a charity dedicated to reducing health inequalities and improving services for the most vulnerable, including rough sleepers. Participants are asked to pledge to provide a Homeless Friendly service, whether they be charities, health carers, hospitals, local authorities or businesses.
(Published Pulse Today, 18th April 2019) (Published Oldham Chronicle, 18th April 2019) (Published Rochdale Online, 23rd April 2019)