Five ways you can help people access healthcare (and feel good) during Lockdown 2.0

Published 12th November 2020

England is in lockdown again. With the constant upheaval and uncertainty, it’s easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed.

That’s why we wanted to let you know how Doctors of the World is responding and what you can do to help people who will need to see a doctor during this time.

With many businesses closed and health services under pressure amid rising COVID-19 cases, it’s even harder for the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our communities to access healthcare and support.

Doctors of the World’s services will continue to operate as they have done since March. The advice line will remain open and our clinic team will be on hand to answer questions and support patients to access NHS services.

We’ll also provide medical outreach to at-risk communities in London throughout Lockdown 2.0 and continue to look at new ways to support migrant communities across the UK with translated health information.

Together with the Hands Up for Our Health coalition, Doctors of the World will continue to call for universal and equitable access to the NHS, during COVID-19 and beyond.

Here are five ways you can help vulnerable people access healthcare (and feel good) during Lockdown 2.0.

1. Chip in to keep our clinic and helpline running

During Lockdown 2.0, the helpline will continue to operate remotely, from 10am-midday Monday to Friday, with remote GP consultations available to those patients with urgent health needs. The Stratford clinic will remain closed, but we hope to reopen it soon. In September, we trialled a new clinic model that will allow it to operate safely during COVID-19. We hope to reopen the clinic from December when we have more capacity to support the remote services. Chip in to keep our clinic and helpline running.

2. Help us ensure those most at-risk can see a doctor

As the days get shorter and temperatures plummet, our mobile clinic team will continue to provide medical outreach to rough sleepers in the City of London. With winter around the corner, this work will be even more important to see who is still rough sleeping and to offer them emergency accommodation and healthcare. We’ve also started supporting asylum seekers in Home Office accommodation, where healthcare access is typically very poor. At a hotel in London, our mobile outreach coordinator Dr Durga is offering urgent health assessments and helping residents to register with a GP. Help us ensure everyone can see a doctor when they need to by letting your GP practice know about our Safe Surgeries initiative.

Over 300 GP practices have committed to being safe surgeries.

3. Tackle language barriers with our translated resources

Our range of translated resources continues to grow! We recently launched infographics on migrants’ right to healthcare and a series of leaflets with health and wellbeing information for young refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. We will continue to update and promote our translated resources and look at new ways to support migrant communities in the UK. You can help by sharing our translated resources with your networks and on social media.

4. Read more about the box that gives babies the best start to life

We’ve partnered with PramDepot to provide our most vulnerable mums and mums to be with emergency baby boxes. They contain high quality recycled baby clothes and equipment, delivered in a box that can then be used as a bed for the baby. Baby boxes are commonplace in Scandinavian countries and Scotland and are touted as a way to reduce the risks of unsafe co-sleeping. Read more about this new partnership and how a simple box can help children get the best start to life.

Baby boxes contain essential baby items, including a mattress so that the box can be turned into a bed for the baby. Photo courtesy of PramDepot

5. Join the campaign for our health

One month ago, we launched the Hands Up for Our Health campaign to call for universal and equitable access to the NHS, during COVID-19 and beyond. Our coalition continues to grow, with over 60 organisations signed up. We have three asks for the UK Government: immediately suspend the NHS charging regulations, investigate the impact of NHS charging on patient and public health, and improve access to all NHS services. Will you put your hands up for our health?

Join the campaign for our health.

Please also don’t forget to take care of you. As we face another long stretch of limited social interaction and restrictions on our movement, it’s more important than ever to take care of our mental health and wellbeing.

If you feel like you’d benefit from some tips and advice, our wellbeing guidance is free to download and available in 27 languages. Remember, you’re not alone – we’re all in this together. 

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With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.