Initiative for Homelessness in Southend Shortlisted for HSJ Awards 2021

Initiative for Homelessness in Southend Shortlisted for HSJ Awards 2021

Sent on behalf of Tricia D’Orsi, NHS Alliance Director

Dear all,

I am delighted to announce the news that an initiative, to provide better joined-up care for those affected by homelessness in Southend, has been shortlisted for ‘Primary Care Innovation of the Year’ at the national HSJ Awards 2021.  The award recognises the outstanding contribution to healthcare in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector.

While a press release will be issued later, I wanted to share this good news with you all first as key partners in the south east Essex system. The ‘Southend Integrated Healthcare for Homeless’ initiative, demonstrates how an integrated system really can make a difference in people’s lives.

Southend GP, Dr Haroon Siddique and Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Edel Spruce, have led the development of the initiative as part of the Southend West Central Primary Care Network.   As you will be aware, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) offer a new way of organising care, bringing together all health and care services in a local area to deliver more joined-up care to local populations.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce health inequalities for rough sleepers, to support them in not only recovering from life on the streets, but to also help them lead more meaningful lives.

We are grateful to all our partners including Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, HARP, food banks, soup kitchens, hostels, outreach teams, hospital, mental health and substance misuse providers who have all collaborated to build this new integrated service.

The initiative has already seen positive outcomes by maximising opportunities to deliver preventative health initiatives, such as Hepatitis C, respiratory, blood pressure and COVID-19 testing.  Word-of-mouth from clients has consequently attracted others who were unsure or previously hesitant in accessing healthcare services. This in turn has helped to reduce avoidable use of crisis services while ultimately reducing premature deaths.

Since January, the initiative has seen hundreds of homeless people supported with a variety of medical problems, including a new diagnosis of liver cancer.  We have delivered hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations and facilitated access to wider services. This means multiple homeless people have had health interventions which they normally wouldn’t have had access to.

I look forward to continued progress as we work together to deliver great outcomes for local people.

Jamie Langstone