Medical care is not enough

Published 24th October 2023

By Lucy Jones, Head of Research at Doctors of the World UK 

Providing medical care to people forced into homelessness and destitution is not enough. We must use our knowledge, expertise and voice of people with lived experience to influence positive change and improve healthcare access for all living in the UK.  

Based on our years of experience, I’m working on a new report that puts together our evidence on best practice in providing healthcare to some of the most excluded communities in the UK.  The project is in partnership with both University College London Hospitals and the UK Health Security Agency, as we work together to design a health service model that really meets everyone’s needs. We must ensure all can access public health services such as vaccinations and screening, preventing for example outbreaks of diseases, including TB, measles and rubella.  

Since the charity’s start, we’ve committed to welcoming people to our clinic, mobile vans, and adviceline, when it might seem like there’s nowhere left for them to seek medical aid. But we know that for lasting change to happen – we also need to advocate for better, more efficient and inclusive, policies, systems, and health services. This is why our research and policy work is so important. This is where this new report I’m working on comes in. 

Today, Doctors of the World is commissioned to share our broad range of knowledge of the barriers to healthcare that are experienced by the people we support, who are currently missed from public services. The aim is the delivery of diagnostic outreach, vaccinations, and community treatment that benefits us all. 

I’m very proud of this work, and all the research we do on the many barriers people still face when trying to access health services. Being part of the solution means sharing what we know about what people in precarious conditions need, and want, and what we know has worked so far as we aim for equal access to healthcare. 

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