Homeless doctor Tim Worthley can carry on practising in Brighton after health chiefs handed him a new contract.
Dr Worthley has been a mainstay of the Brighton Homeless Healthcare Surgery, in Morley Street, Brighton.
The surgery was one of five across Brighton and Hove run by a company called the Practice Group which quit after being told that it would receive 20 per cent less funding. The other four surgeries have closed with patients being transferred to other family doctors near by.
The contract to provide GP (general practice) services to homeless people in Brighton has been awarded to a not-for-profit company called Arch Health set up by Dr Worthley and his colleagues.
It will take over the contract on Wednesday 1 February. Dr Worthley said: “We are delighted to have been invited to provide the new specialist homeless healthcare service in Brighton and Hove.
“This new service represents an opportunity to significantly improve the healthcare that homeless people in our city receive.
“As a not-for-profit company comprised of local clinicians and professionals we are determined to deliver a service which is accessible, restorative and compassionate and which treats the homeless women, men and families in Brighton with the utmost respect and dignity.
“We will work tirelessly with local services and the community to this end.”
Homeless people have often found it hard to register with a GP (general practitioner) making it more likely that they turn up at hospital accident and emergency departments. It costs much more to treat them there and by the time they turn up for help, their condition is often more severe and more costly to treat.
They are also more likely than the wider population to have a mix of physical and mental symptoms which can make their care and treatment more complicated.
NHS England said: “A new specialist healthcare service in Brighton and Hove will make it easier for homeless people to get the care they need to support their health and wellbeing and to ensure they receive joined-up care from different local services, based around their individual needs.
“NHS England and NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have named community interest company Arch Health as the provider of the new service, which will start providing care to patients from 1 February 2017 when the current contract for the service expires.
“The new service will build upon the current services already provided at the Brighton Homeless Healthcare Surgery, in Morley Street, with Dr Tim Worthley continuing to oversee care for patients there as one of the founders of the Arch Health group.
“The new service will provide
NHS England director of commissioning for the south (south east), Sarah Macdonald, said: “People who are homeless can be extremely vulnerable and have a range of complex physical and mental health needs but often find it difficult to engage with health services.
“It is vital that homeless patients receive the right care to support their health and wellbeing and to prevent them from relying on local A&E services to meet their health needs.”
Adam Doyle, the new chief accountable officer at NHS Brighton and Hove, the local clinical commissioning group (CCG), said: “Improving health outcomes for Brighton and Hove’s homeless population is a priority not just for the local NHS but for the range of organisations and services we work with in the city to provide the complex range of support needed.
“The CCG is working with our partners in the city council and local voluntary sector to transform the way in which services work together to support this vulnerable group of patients while promoting recovery and independence.
“The new specialist homeless service announced today is central to this integrated model of care.”