Support is available for homeless people across Northamptonshire 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 December, following initial discussions with the Hope Centre.
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 risk of premature death, and to reduce preventable emergency hospital admissions.
Cecile Irving Smith, Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“We are delighted to support this collaborative initiative that will not only help reduce the incidence of TB locally and address the low Hepatitis C detection rate. It will also help to address the high number of hospital admissions of those with liver diseases due to Hepatitis B or C complications. By working in collaboration with local partners we are able to offer a unique programme that may help shape further screening and vaccination programmes and improve the overall health and wellbeing of our homeless population.”
It is anticipated that the clinicians will be able to see between 25 to 35 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.
Local Authority homelessness statistics in 2017 indicate that Wellingborough, Northampton, Kettering and Corby have significantly higher instances of homelessness in comparison to England and East Midlands averages.
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 Hope Centre in Northampton, Rushden Night Shelter, Corby Nightlight, the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough, and the Salvation Army.
This innovative project will supplement existing services in delivering greater benefit through improving access to health service provision.
The screening and vaccination drop in sessions will be held around the county as follows:
Northampton - December 3 & 4, The Hope Centre, Northampton, NN1 3DS
Wellingborough - December 5, Nations Wellingborough Centre, 42 Oxford Street, NN8 4JG
Rushden - December 6, Rushden Full Gospel Church, 60 High Street South, NN10 0QX
Daventry - December 7, Daventry Methodist Church, 6 Golding Cl, Daventry NN11 4FH
Corby - December 10, The Old Police Station on Elizabeth Street, NN17 1SH
Towcester - 14, The Methodist Church in Towcester, 11 Brackley Rd, Towcester, NN12 6DH
Kettering - December 17, Salvation Army, 66 Rockingham Rd, Kettering NN16 8JU