One year of Safe Surgeries!

Published 4th September 2019

What an incredible twelve months! One year after the launch of Safe Surgeries, over 220 GP practices across 28 cities and towns have joined the network. There are Safe Surgeries in 53 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) around the UK, stretching from Devon to Scotland, all taking a stand for inclusive and welcoming healthcare for everyone in their communities.

The initiative has been shortlisted for this year’s General Practice Awards for a Clinical Improvement Award in Public Health and Prevention, a fantastic recognition of the work of our members and their vital contribution to public health and community wellbeing in the UK. Furthermore, the Safe Surgeries toolkit, our flagship resource for reception teams, has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). This is a great recognition by the RCGP of the work practices are doing and the principles they go the extra mile to uphold.

Safe Surgeries for London

On 20 August we held our first London Safe Surgeries event, hosted by City Hall. We brought together over 60 Safe Surgeries, commissioners, Healthwatch, local authority and voluntary sector staff, to celebrate progress so far and discuss opportunities for creating truly inclusive primary care systems in London.

Our panellists included Dr Raj Patel, NHS England Deputy National Medical Director for Primary Care; Dr Victoria Tzortziou-Brown, Co-Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs;Sultana Rahman, Assistant Programme Director, Healthy London Partnership; Dr Caroline Shulman, GP in Homeless and Inclusion Health; and Gisela Valle, Interim Director at Latin American Women’s Rights Service.

Here are some of their reflections on the role of Safe Surgeries driving more accessible primary care for all:

Dr Raj Patel, NHS England Deputy National Medical Director for Primary Care

Gisela Valle, Interim Director at Latin American Women’s Rights Service

Caroline Shulman, GP in Homeless and Inclusion Health

Why Safe Surgeries?

Doctors of the World launched the Safe Surgeries initiative to support general practice to provide holistic care to patients, like refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and homeless people, who are often unable to provide documents. We provide resources, training and health policy updates, and we connect participating practices to each other to share their experiences.

The Safe Surgeries network was designed to support the most pivotal people in NHS access; primary care staff. Safe Surgeries don’t refuse to register patients without proof of address documentation or proof of identification. They never ask to see a visa or proof of immigration status. Staff do what they can to reassure patients that their personal information is safe and they use an interpreter when needed. They display posters reassuring patients that the surgery is a safe space and they empower frontline staff with training and an inclusive registration policy.

By following these steps, primary care staff can ensure that everybody can access healthcare when they need it.  

Joining is free – sign up here.

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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.