25 October 2019

Health screening and vaccination will be provided to homeless people across Northamptonshire again this year through a pioneering project which provides free health screening drop-in sessions.

Northamptonshire County Council's Public Health team has worked with partners to provide a number of these sessions across the county during October 2019.

People attending the sessions will be screened for TB, Hepatitis A, B and C, and HIV. In addition they will be offered immunisations for Hepatitis A & B, and vaccinations for flu. There will also be an opportunity for people to have a liver scan, and receive a general health check.

The aim of these sessions are to help reduce health complications amongst the homeless population and the risks of premature death, and to reduce preventable emergency hospital admissions.

It is anticipated that the clinicians will be able to see between 20 to 25 people at each of the health screening sessions.  There may be a small number of people found to need treatment in relation to TB or Hepatitis C, for whom support will be provided to gain some form of stable accommodation to help ensure they complete treatment successfully.

Research shows that the health and wellbeing of people who experience homelessness is poorer than that of the general population. Recent statistics show homeless people in the UK have a much higher likelihood than the general population of having one of the following three diseases:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence is up to 34 times greater in homeless populations
  • Hepatitis C prevalence is up to 50 times greater in homeless populations
  • HIV prevalence is up to 20 times greater in homeless populations

As a result, this unique collaboration between a variety of local and regional partners has been established. The Public Health Team at Northamptonshire County Council is working closely with Public Health England, regional and local NHS Trusts, CGL (the provider of local substance misuse services), all seven borough and district councils, Oxford Immunotec, and a wide variety of voluntary sector organisations including the Bridge in Northampton and Hope Centre in Northampton, Rushden Night Shelter, and the Salvation Army.

This innovative project will supplement existing services in delivering greater benefit through improving access to health service provision.

Ian Morris, Cabinet member for Public Health, said:

 

“Many homeless people find it difficult to access healthcare or even register with a GP. The screening and vaccination sessions allow us to help individuals to access healthcare that they may otherwise miss out on and we also offer the opportunity for them to register with a GP.”

 It is anticipated that the clinicians will be able to see approximately 15-25 people at each of the health screening sessions. 

This innovative project will supplement existing services in delivering greater benefit through improving access to health service provision.