Bringing care to the streets of Hackney

Every Wednesday, nurses and recovery workers from Turning Point’s City & Hackney Recovery Service will be bringing high quality care straight to the most vulnerable in the community-with the new Clinical and Well-being van.

Rough sleepers are often most at risk from death at this time of year and beyond. Because many have mental health issues, no fixed address and chaotic behaviours, many services find that they are most ‘hard to reach’.

Rough sleepers will often fall between the cracks in over-stretched public services, and will become the most vulnerable to death and harm.

Reaching the ’hard to reach’

The City & Hackney Recovery Service, Hackney council, and partners are trying to address this problem through interventions and this new Clinical and Well-being Van. Originally bought by Public Health England for COVID testing, it has been repurposed, and is now fully equipped for those who would otherwise be at risk from health complications, and drug and alcohol issues.

Patients will be able to:

  • see a nurse for a full assessment of alcohol use to access detox and rehab services
  • get tested and treated for blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis
  • have access to urine and blood pressure tests if needed
  • use a needle and syringe exchange and harm minimisation services
  • review and restart treatment to come off opioid drugs.

City & Hackney Recovery Service Well-being Nurse, Moore McClelland said, “We’ve started building up relationships with rough sleepers in the area – and we are reaching more. We have weekly meetings with professionals from other organisations to make sure our high-risk clients are being cared for.

“We’re also able to give out food vouchers, harm reduction medicine – such as Naloxone (to reduce death by overdose), and help signpost toward accommodation when the temperatures drop below freezing.

“Each week the clinical van will be targeting different places within City & Hackney to make sure we reach the ‘hard to reach’.”

A collaborative, cost-effective approach Jara Senar Villadeamigo, Strategic Manager (Hackney) added, “This project supports the team to work from a collaborative perspective. We rely on our relationships with the street and health outreach teams to know where we will have the greatest impact. This innovative approach will certainly inform how we develop the project in the future to meet the changing needs on the street.”

Recent studies show that interventions such as this, costs the public purse much less than letting the vulnerable in the community get to crisis point.

A recent report by charity CRISIS, calculated that the cost of a single homeless person for 12 months to public services is approximately £21,000 per year. This is versus the cost of intervention – which is approximately £1,500.

The City & Hackney Recovery Service Clinical and Well-being van is a cost effective intervention which will bring high quality care to people before they reach crisis point.

This blog was originally published by Turning Point. You can read the original post here.

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

This content was created by Turning Point

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