Accessing Healthcare in Sandwell: Homelessness Project Report 2020Download (PDF 12.19MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Sandwell undertook research into access to healthcare services for people who are homeless as this was a local priority. They got 129 responses to their survey and spoke to a further 8 people in depth about their experience.
There were mixed views about accessing primary care services, in particular GPs. However, the main issue raised related to lack of necessary ID or proof of address to register with a GP. Also, people were not aware of their rights when it comes to registering with their local GP.
A number of respondents reported experiencing some and significant access issues to mental health services. Issues raised through the feedback were waiting times for appointments, judgemental attitudes from staff, lack of patient knowledge regarding registration process with different primary care services and getting timely and appropriate community-based support for mental health service issues when homeless.
The main reasons that homeless people have attended urgent or emergency care are lack of access to GP services, repeat attendances and admissions for the same health problem and a lack of access and continuing care to mental health service services in the community.
There were 7 recommendations, including publicising the rights of homeless people to access health care, the need for staff training, reviewing access to mental health services for homeless people and a hospital discharge protocol for homeless people.