New specialist healthcare service for homeless patients in Brighton and Hove

A new specialist healthcare service in Brighton and Hove will make it easier for homeless people to get the care they need to support their health and wellbeing and to ensure they receive joined-up care from different local services, based around their individual needs.

NHS England and NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have named community interest company Arch Health as the provider of the new service, which will start providing care to patients from 1 February 2017, when the current contract for the service expires.

The new service will build upon the current services already provided at the Brighton Homeless Healthcare Surgery in Morley Street, with Dr Tim Worthley continuing to oversee care for patients there as one of the founders of the Arch Health group.

The new service will provide:

  • Core GP services
  • Engagement workers who will link in with homeless patients and other local health and care providers and voluntary services to support the delivery of integrated and personalised care, while also empowering homeless people to make decisions about their care
  • Provide care planning and support and guidance to other local GP practices about managing the needs of their homeless and vulnerably-housed patients
  • A GP in-reach service at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, to help provide co-ordinated care for homeless patients being treated there and to ensure their healthcare needs are met when they leave hospital
  • Support for homeless patients being discharged from the local mental health unit at Millview Hospital
  • Education and training to both clinical and non-clinical frontline health staff to help raise awareness and understanding of the health and care needs of homeless people (including training for local GPs and practice nurses and trainee doctors)

Welcoming the planned new service, Sarah Macdonald, Director of Commissioning, NHS England South (South East) said:

“People who are homeless can be extremely vulnerable and have a range of complex physical and mental health needs, but often find it difficult to engage with health services.

“It is vital that homeless patients receive the right care to support their health and wellbeing and to prevent them from relying on local A&E services to meet their health needs.”

Adam Doyle, Chief Accountable Officer at NHS Brighton and Hove CCG, added:

“Improving health outcomes for Brighton and Hove’s homeless population is a priority not just for the local NHS but for the range of organisations and services we work with in the city to provide the complex range of support needed. The CCG is working with our partners in the City Council and local voluntary sector to transform the way in which services work together to support this vulnerable group of patients, while promoting recovery and independence. The new specialist homeless service announced today is central to this integrated model of care”

Dr Tim Worthley of the Arch Health Group said:

“We are delighted to have been invited to provide the new specialist homeless healthcare service in Brighton and Hove. This new service represents an opportunity to significantly improve the healthcare that homeless people in our city receive.

“As a not for profit company comprised of local clinicians and professionals we are determined to deliver a service which is accessible, restorative and compassionate, and which treats the homeless women, men and families in Brighton with the utmost respect and dignity. We will work tirelessly with local services and the community to this end.”