GP clinic set up for homeless

A SPECIAL GP clinic is to be set up in Ipswich aimed at helping homeless people.Currently homeless people are on temporary registers at doctor's surgeries but the new centre will mean they can get proper and ongoing treatment for their problems.

A SPECIAL GP clinic is to be set up in Ipswich aimed at helping homeless people.

Currently homeless people are on temporary registers at doctor's surgeries but the new centre will mean they can get proper and ongoing treatment for their problems.

Set up by Ipswich Primary Care Trust, a team of nurses and outreach workers are involved in the project.

According to a report by Suffolk's Director of Health there were three deaths in the town in 2001 caused by the fact that there were no co-ordinated resources for homeless people in the area. The project is designed to prevent this.


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It is not only for people living on the streets but also for people in bed and breakfast accommodation or in hostels.

Georgina Sparrow is the senior nurse and co-ordinator of the project.

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She and practice nurse Kathy Cubitt are currently taking the service to people in the YMCA's and Salvation Army Hostels around the town.

At the moment they are still waiting to employ a GP and find a base but it is hoped they have found one in the centre of town, although nothing has been confirmed.

Mrs Sparrow said that homeless people need stability rather than having to re-register with a doctor every three months.

She said: "We can register them and see them through their problems with the help of other agencies, working in partnership with voluntary organisations and drug groups.

"We want to be able to tackle the health inequalities in the town."

The problems and illnesses the surgery are likely to be dealing with are different from those of a traditional surgery.

"Whereas people might see a doctor for a broken toe, they will come in with that but they might also have drug problems or mental health problems that we can also treat by working with the other agencies," she said.

Outreach workers Chris Osborne and Pauline Flahant will be responsible for letting the homeless know about the new service.

It is hoped that by giving them this help it will also go part of the way to getting them off the streets.

Mrs Sparrow said: "We can get them the support of other agencies and then get them settled so they can register with a GP in their area."

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