Conversations with people who have experienced homelessness in Sandwell

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Sandwell were commissioned by CQC to undertake a portrait of a seldom heard community to understand which health and care services they used, their experience of doing so and what changes they’d like to see. Healthwatch Sandwell engaged with homeless people. They spoke to 136 people via surveys.

Most people hadn’t heard of CQC and didn’t know what their role was.  They had used a range of services:

  • GPs
  • Dentists
  • Social services
  • Anger management classes
  • NHS 111
  • Hospitals
  • Social services
  • Care homes

Their main challenge in accessing GPs was lack of necessary proof of ID and address to register. Many GP staff were not aware of homeless people’s rights to register with a local GP.  Homeless people also felt that they weren’t treated with respect and understanding. 

Many had poor mental health.  They were concerned about long waiting times and judgmental attitudes by staff.  Many used urgent or emergency care due to lack of access to GPs. Homeless people preferred services to contact them by text eg for appointment reminders.

Homeless people wanted:

  • Staff to be respectful and kindly,
  • Consistency with the same doctors
  • Have more options in health and care
Good communication between patients and professionals

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General details

Report title 
Conversations with people who have experienced homelessness in Sandwell
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Sandwell
Date of publication 
Monday, 20 December, 2021
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Psychiatry/mental health (hospital services)
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Social care services 
Adult social care
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency
NHS 111
Urgent care services

Details about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
Homeless people
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.