18 March 2019

From 1 April, the Trust will provide Primary Care GP services at The Greenhouse Practice in Hackney in partnership with Groundswell, a charity which works with homeless and vulnerable people.

Supporting Homeless People and the 'Hidden' Homeless
The practice provides care to people living in hostels or supported accommodation, rough sleepers, and people who spend a significant amount of time on the street or in other public places.  But they will also support the hidden homeless, such as people in squats or ‘sofa surfers.’ Seven staff will transfer over so patients will continue to be seen by staff they are familiar with.

The Trust provides a similar service in Tower Hamlets and Newham as well as mental health services in The City of London and Hackney. Alongside Groundswell, both organisations have considerable experience of the challenges which face homeless people and in supporting vulnerable individuals.

Dr Kate Corlett, Associate Medical Director - Primary Care at ELFT, is enthusiastic about what ELFT and Groundswell can offer. “We are delighted to have won this contact to be involved with supporting homeless people in the borough in practical ways to help them get permanent housing and in better health. We are excited to be working with Groundswell who have a great track record in helping homeless people find their way again. The combination of their on-the-ground expertise and NHS healthcare pathways means we can provide innovative and effective support to local people who find themselves homeless.”

Steven Platts, Chief Executive Groundswell said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with ELFT and homelessness services to enable people to access health services in Hackney and improve their health & well-being. Achieving good health outcomes for rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people is a vital step towards independence.”

Specific Mental Health Support
A primary aim of the service will be to prevent people losing their home due to the symptoms of mental illness (and other social and economic problems) and prevent an individual becoming homeless following an admission to a psychiatric hospital.

The service will be co-located with Hackney Housing officers, who will work closely with social care workers in identifying homeless people, developing comprehensive care plans, work towards reducing rough sleeping, reducing emergencies admissions, and worsening medical conditions.

Listening and Developing Services
The Trust plans to engage with Greenhouse Patient Participation Groups, hostel/shelter staff, pharmacists, homeless patients admitted to Homerton University Hospital, users of soup kitchens, workers and stakeholders during the first three months to get views about the type of support favoured by individuals and key areas to that need to be addressed.

What the Practice Will Offer
The Greenhouse Practice is based at: 19 Tudor Rd, London E9 7SN. It has 1076 patients.
Like other GP surgeries, Greenhouse will provide all the usual medical care services including  cervical screening, contraception services, vaccinations and some maternity services.
The service will offer specific support to people in need in The City of London and Hackney. It will have consultation rooms for partner organisations to provide housing and legal advice, social justice, education, benefits, debt counselling.

Groundswell is a registered charity which exists to enable homeless and vulnerable people to take more control of their lives, have a greater influence on services and to play a fuller role in their community. Their Homeless Health Peer Advocacy (HHPA) service is delivered by volunteers with personal experience of homelessness. Peer advocates help people support people who are homeless to overcome the barriers so they can effectively address their health needs.

City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group
The Greenhouse Practice is located in the London Borough of Hackney and it is part of City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The current contract for the provision of primary medical care services is due to expire on 31st March 2019. The new contract will run for five years with the option of being extended.
Bids were invited for a provider of primary medical care services for the patient list registered with The Greenhouse Practice. The practice is currently managed under an APMS co