A doctor and patient sitting opposite a desk as if in consultation

The partnership service aimed at helping North Devon's homeless population has been enhanced with the addition of General Practitioner (GP) services.

The Enhanced Outreach team - made up of staff from a number of partner organisations and a homelessness charity - has employed a GP to provide a bespoke clinic one day a week for homeless people in North Devon.

Staff from North Devon Council, Devon Partnership Trust, the Freedom Community Alliance charity and Northern Devon Healthcare Trust currently make up the Enhanced Outreach team, which works to help the district's rough sleepers. The main aim of the service is to support individuals who want to come off the streets into accommodation. 

The GP clinic will take place in the newly adapted treatment room at the Freedom Centre, Barnstaple. This is being provided through the Barnstaple Primary Care Network and is a very welcome addition to the services already provided; this includes shower facilities and provision for mobile phone charging for those who prefer to stay on the streets or have not yet been found suitable accommodation. 

Manager of the Barnstaple Primary Care Network, Sharon Bates says: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with the team to enable us to bring GP care out of our practices and be more accessible. By doing this we hope to improve the health of individuals who may other wise of not sought help and advice.”

General Practitioner at the new clinic,  Dr Nigel Moody says: "Access to primary health care is fundamental to improving health outcomes for any patient group. It is particularly important in the homeless population whom the traditional model of General Practice has not been served well. Hopefully the new clinic, provided by me and two other GPs, will show the value of practices working together to improve our community's health and wellbeing." 

Service Lead for Housing, Vulnerable Persons and Community Safety at North Devon Council, Natasha Rowland says: "We are thrilled to welcome the GP clinic to the range of services we already offer to our homeless community. This valuable addition will enhance our offer to some of the most vulnerable members of our community and assist in our plight to get every individual the help they need."

Chief Executive from Freedom Community Alliance, Philip Noall says: “We are delighted to be hosting this new service which has been in planning and development for many months. The new facilities are fantastic and a great addition the existing services on offer through the Freedom Centre. We see this as a great opportunity to reduce some of the health inequalities faced by some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”   

Residents are asked to use the Street Link website to report a rough sleeper they are concerned about.  

Anyone who believes they are at risk of becoming homeless should get in touch with North Devon Council as soon as possible on 01271 388870 or email customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk.