Urban Village Medical Practice Homeless Healthcare Service
(incorporating the mpath service)
Entitlement to appropriate healthcare for all
UVMP is a large GP practice with approximately 10,000 registered patients, offering high quality primary care services to people in Manchester city centre, Ancoats and the surrounding areas. The practice provides specialist service provision including sexual health, infectious diseases clinic, family planning, minor surgery and substance misuse services.
In addition the practice has been offering full registration and access to all primary care services to homeless people in the city for the last 15 years; the practice operates a weekly multi-disciplinary drop in and other specialist homeless clinics throughout the week for homeless people. The practice currently has approximately 850 homeless patients registered. Our primary care service for homeless people endorses the ‘Standards for commissioners and service providers’ produced by the Faculty of Homeless Health in 2011 (revised 2013) and is actively working to meet all the standards for primary care services for homeless people
All team members belong to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, the first independent, multi-disciplinary body focussed on the health care of homeless and other multiply excluded people.
In 2012, Urban Village Medical Practice was approached to undertake a 6 month pilot scoping the extent of A&E attendances by homeless people in the city from Dec 2012 to May 2013. This work showed that there were a significant number of homeless people that were frequently attending the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and that our model of proactive community engagement and support to access primary care resulted in 81% of frequent attenders reducing their attendances. (Please see our publications page for more information on the pilot).
As a consequence of these findings, UVMP were commissioned by Central Manchester Foundation Hospital Trust (CMFT) to undertake a 12 month pilot in order to continue to scope the extent of the issue and begin to develop and test out an innovative response to homeless people who are frequent attenders at A&E in order to reduce this, and also to offer a service to homeless people who are admitted to hospital, providing specialist advice to CMFT staff to manage the inpatient stay and reduce re admission rates where possible. The pilot service model was based on the work done by London Pathway who pioneered work in this field in recent years. (Please see our publication page for more information on London Pathway).
The ‘mpath’ (Manchester Pathway) pilot service went live in June 2013, based on the principles of ‘Compassion, Communication and Continuity of Care’ with an overall aspiration to improve healthcare outcomes and patient experience for homeless people who either attend A&E or are admitted to the MRI.
The service aimed to engage and include homeless people in appropriate health care, predominantly primary care and relevant specialist services especially substance misuse and mental health services.
We also felt it was crucial to improve social factors for individual patients – housing, benefits etc. which would be vital to bring about improved health outcomes and a reduction in the instability and chaos experienced by a high proportion of homeless patients.
Based on the ongoing outcomes of the service, we have secured 'Better Care' funding for the service until March 2016.