Laura Sharman 17 July 2019

Homeless people denied access to healthcare, study finds

Homeless people are being denied access to basic healthcare, a new study has revealed.

The study by the University of Birmingham found some homeless people shared accounts of casual neglect, discrimination, and inadequate resources.

Although some participants reported no problems with accessing healthcare, others said they were being denied registration at a GP and were being discharged from hospital with no access or referral to primary care providers.

One person even admitted committing a crime so they could access healthcare from prison.

Dr Vibhu Paudyal, senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Pharmacy, said: ‘Stories of homeless people being denied access to mainstream GP services were so far anecdotal which our study sadly validates as the truth.

’Perceived stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings seems to be even more persistent and shows how much work needs to be done to make primary care more inclusive for homeless people.

’Our study participants found access to mental health and substance misuse services often challenging as many have dual diagnoses.’

The study found that high satisfaction with using specialist primary healthcare centres for people who are homeless but these are often underfunded.

The study was based on interviews with 22 homeless people at three Midland homeless shelters.

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