Summary of report content
In 2016-17, Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen worked to find out the views and experiences of the local homeless population. The findings of this work were shared with local NHS, CCG and service providers. The report found: a lack of mental health provision; barriers to accessing services, particularly when a phone is needed to make contact; a lack of one-to-one support for those experiencing homelessness; difficulties accessing GPs and dentists; a lack of a joined-up approach and services working together; a lack of awareness of services and how to access the support on offer.
In 2018-19, Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen revisited the recommendations and service provider responses from the 2016-17 report to assess whether changes had been considered further and implemented. Findings included: people were still experiencing barriers to registering at GP practices; services had been put in place to support vulnerable people that are homeless or in transient accommodation, however there was not a clear pathway for people to access this support; there were concerns around the lack of power for local authorities to regulate Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs); there were concerns about the uncertainty of future funding for services and the longevity of support available. The report outlines the original recommendations made in the 2016-17 report, the CCG response in July 2017, and an update on progress in March 2019, including further recommendations. A response from Blackburn with Darwen CCG is also included.