This new King's College London, NIHR-funded study maps primary health care services for people who are homeless in England, finding that there is significant variation in the type of service available, with some areas poorly covered.
Only 43% of the 900 homelessness projects (hostels and day centres) that were surveyed by the researchers, were linked to a specialist primary health care service.
It was also found that homelessness projects in smaller towns and rural areas, plus those working with young homeless people, were a lot less likely to be served by a specialist primary health care service.
Information was gathered from 243 homelessness projects not linked to a specialist primary health care service about their views and experiences of primary health care arrangements for their clients:
- One in 10 managers of such projects (11%) said that their clients experienced ‘a lot’ of difficulties accessing primary health care services;
- Nearly half (47%) said that their clients experienced ‘some’ difficulties;
- Fewer (43%) said that there were no problems;
- Difficulties were most commonly reported by managers of projects in parts of NHS Midlands and East Region, and the South West and South East Regions.