Andy Burnham the Mayor of Greater Manchester visited the organisers of a vital health service set up to treat homeless people in Rochdale at a meeting at the Town Hall on Wednesday March 20th.
The Homeless Alliance Response Team (HART) is a service manned by qualified GPs, nurses, allied health professionals including therapists, and mental health workers who volunteer their clinical services to support the scheme. It was set up last year using a one off allocation of £50,000 given to organisers Rochdale Healthcare Alliance from Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group. A further £10,000 has been awarded to continue the vital service for this vulnerable group, who can have complex physical and mental health needs and who do not access regular services.
The service runs out of the Champness Hall soup kitchen on Drake Street where sessions held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings offer routine health monitoring, support and advice.
Mr Burnham heard that since the start of the programme in April 2018, 75 prescriptions have been issued, 85 clinical reviews have been done, 60 dressings have been applied, 70 onward referrals have been made – all to homeless people who would otherwise have had no help with their medical problem, or would have accessed a service urgently when this could have been prevented.
Middleton GP and Chair of Rochdale Health Alliance, Dr Mo Jiva, said;
“We are proud of the HART service delivered in Rochdale and the contribution that makes to improving the lives of homeless people, a cause that is championed by Andy Burnham. We are delighted to welcome him here to speak about HART. Because of transient lifestyles homeless people are more susceptible to medical problems. Unfortunately there are increasing numbers of people in the borough who are homeless and live transient lifestyles who often also have substance misuse, mental health and dependency problems. These chaotic lifestyles means that many rarely access health services at traditional venues like GP surgeries. Our scheme takes the health care and support to them in venues where and when they regularly attend.”
Jackie Taylor, Head of Clinical Services at Rochdale Health Alliance said;
“We are heartened at the response we have had from the homeless community who really value this service. We have seen a variety of health needs and wound care seems to be particularly needed. We are playing an important role in minimising the need for homeless people to visit the urgent care centre and other services when they don’t need to. HART is now partnering with the Greater Manchester mayor’s ‘a bed every night’ programme in support of health needs for homeless people in the Rochdale borough. HART is now an integral part of the wider volunteer and charity response network within Rochdale, who were also invited to showcase their activities at today’s GM Mayoral visit.”
There are now over 80 homeless people who are seen by HART volunteers on a regular basis and these are supported and signposted to other services as needed.
The free service includes;
• Face to face advice and assessments
• Health screening such as blood pressure and pulse testing
• Measuring weight
• Medication and prescription reviews
• Wound care
Over the last 11 months the service has forged links with other specialist outreach health services such as sexual health services, MIND and Turning Point.
If you are a healthcare professional and wish to find out more about how you can volunteer to join the HART scheme, please contact Jackie Taylor, Head of Clinical Services, Rochdale Health Alliance on firstname.lastname@example.org
To raise further awareness and funds towards tackling homelessness within Rochdale, Jackie is taking the Rochdale Mayor’s Sleep Out Challenge on the 29th March 2019 at The Crown Arena, Rochdale—more details of how you can support this are via the following link: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jackietaylor3
As part of ambitious plans to help tackle rough sleeping in the city region, the Bed Every Night initiative has been launched to provide accommodation for every single person who sleeps rough in Greater Manchester. Members of the public can make donations at www.bedeverynight.co.uk, where they can also track the progress of fundraising.