Pilot scheme at Margate’s QEQM Hospital to improve care for people who are homeless

The QEQM team includes homelessness adult safeguarding practitioner Kendal Beasley

By Liz Crudgington

A pilot project aimed at helping improve access to health and social care for homeless people has launched at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

A dedicated team has been set up, featuring a specialist GP, dedicated homelessness nurse and a housing specialist from charity Porchlight.

They will work together with staff at the hospital to identify people who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or in temporary accommodation, and anyone else who finds it difficult to access health services.

GP Dr Helen Burnett, who is clinical lead for the team, said: “We are delighted this initiative has started. Our initial assessment of setting up this service showed that there is a real need locally to treat people who feel they are missing out on care.

“We look after all our patients with respect and dignity, and help people move on from homelessness.”

The team – Dr Burnett, homelessness adult safeguarding practitioner Kendal Beasley, and Lorraine Seago from Porchlight – will work with patients and agencies to ensure they have access to the support they need.

They will create bespoke care plans for each person, which could include supporting an application to local housing teams, referrals to alcohol and substance misuse teams and mental health teams if appropriate, and working to ensure a safe discharge from hospital.

They can also support people to access benefit payments and legal help, ensure they are registered with a GP for ongoing care, and reconnect them with family and friends.

Kendal said: “We know that people who are homeless attend emergency departments more often, may be admitted more often, and can often stay in hospital for longer.

“They have higher rates of physical and mental health problems, and often, although not always, have issues related to substance abuse.

“Our team want to identify and support people who are homeless and who frequently attend hospital, to help them access the valuable community support that is available and to address their health, housing and social care needs.”

The pilot runs until 30 September, when it will be reviewed.


  1. Right gonna make myself homeless then as can’t get anywhere near my GP … Can’t even get a blood test I need. Had Tel appointment n they didn’t bother to ring. You Bethesda and your website says the average salary of your docs is 104k…no really

  2. i couldnt agree more , you might do even better if you get yourself a dinghy and rock up at dover , first thing you will get is a medical and dental check , which as you say is impossible for us tax payers

  3. So they have recreated the RISE project just without the housing the homeless bit. Duplication much?

  4. So being homeless gives you far better health service provision than the rest of us, surely it just needs someone to identify the individual then tell them to attend a&e with everyone else who can’t get to see their gp. Can these resources not be put into improving the service for everyone?

  5. Agree, Ben C. Homelessness is so complex that tinkering at the edges is a waste of money and leads to a bottomless pit. Agree with you too, Nikolai Tesla, I too would like a blood test in order to get my prescription, the same blood test / prescription I’ve been getting regularly for 10 years, but the Limes can’t manage that and the alternative arrangement at QEQM, which used to be same-day, now involves booking ahead too.
    Gonna get the tent out, it’s the only way.

  6. Don’t panic, people. No need to get a tent or jump in an open boat at Calais.
    This is just another of those initiatives that cash-strapped administrators invent to give the impression that something is being done when, in fact, REALLY dealing with these issues would take the kind of money that this government wouldn’t dream of spending.
    Genuine, caring people with a wealth of experience trying to help end up with a desk, a phone and a computer. But when they set to work ,they find they are wading through porridge as they always did before, because the real resources aren’t there!
    But other genuine, concerned people in related organisations are led to believe that the help is available, so they refer citizens to the new service, in the belief that the authorities have finally recognised that action must be taken.
    But, in reality, there is no serious money to actually do anything. Our best, most caring citizens get burnt out trying in vain to help. Our worst citizens become government ministers.
    The rest of us become cynical and expect less and less, or, worse, get all “poor me..I never get good things… those unworthy immigrants/ asylum seekers/homeless/travellers/ muslims/drug addicts (can’t think of anybody else at the moment) get everything they want…etc etc”
    But, in fact, nobody writing these comments ever, actually, really, goes to live in a tent or boards a boat in Calais in order to gain some imagined advantage, because, in the end, you know its not true and that you would still be worse off if you were genuinely homeless or if you were desperate enough to set to sea in an open boat.
    Loving those news films of the plush hotel in Rwanda with the beautiful rooms and the swimming pool. Just for asylum seekers. Does anyone REALLY believe that is where they will end up? It’s not just Putin who uses propaganda , you know.

  7. Take your point, Keefogs. But some homeless people in Thanet may indeed get better healthcare in some limited respects than many of us, at least for a while. Trouble is … no home, no money, no hope … none of the basics one needs to stay healthy and relatively sane. And, unfortunately, even keyboard warriors with shiny laptops and a roof over their head can end up homeless, there is no such thing as financial security, especially for those of us who just about get by. I agree though … not on purpose just to get an appointment at QEQM. Not yet.

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