A GP for homeless people
Bill Nolan helped to develop a general practice for vulnerably housed people. Lyndsey Boreham spoke to him
A wealth of research evidence shows that people who are homeless or vulnerably housed have higher levels of illness than the general population and die younger. There is also evidence that they have more difficulty accessing health care, are less likely to register with a general practitioner, more likely to use emergency services, and more likely to present late. We wanted to rectify this.
The government noticed that although health care was improving in general, the gap was widening between the health of poorer and richer sections of the community.
When the Labour government came into power it gave primary care trusts the task of looking at their community to identify needy groups with poorer health. It offered additional funding and resources to try and meet the needs of these groups and reduce health inequalities.
Evidence shows that if homeless people are given a choice between mainstream services and dedicated