The ‘My Right to Healthcare Cards’ designed and implemented by Groundswell and the Healthy London Partnership have been shortlisted for a a ‘Homeless Link Excellence Award’ in their ‘Communicating for Change’ category.
Registration with a GP can be difficult when you’re experiencing homelessness. In partnership with the Healthy London Partnership we carried out peer-led research ‘More than a Statistic’ (2016), revealing that one of the key barriers people who are homeless face to getting healthcare is registering and making use of a GP practice.
Despite the clear responsibility for GP’s, the registration of homeless people without a fixed address, identification or status in the UK remained a problem. We identified a lack of knowledge amongst GP’s, their staff, homeless people and those supporting them regarding their rights when accessing healthcare.
In response Groundswell and the Healthy London Partnership produced ‘My Right to Healthcare’ cards . These are small plastic credit card style cards emphasising that when registering with a GP:
You do not need a fixed address.
You do not need identification.
Your immigration status does not matter.
We distribute the cards to hostels, night shelters, day centres and foodbanks who hand them out to people experiencing homelessness. To date we have distributed over 65,000 cards across London and we hope soon to be able to roll these cards out nationwide.
On hearing about our our shortlisting for the award, Dr Steven Platts, Chief Executive of Groundswell said:
“We are honoured that the ‘My Right to Healthcare Cards’ has been shortlisted for a ‘Communicating for Change’ award. It’s such an important, empowering tool for people. We’re dedicated to overcoming homeless health inequalities and believe this card is a crucial tool to raise awareness of people’s rights.”
This video was made by the Museum of Homelessness for their ‘State of the Nation’ programme which launched in April 2017. There aim was to shine a light of what really happens around the country. State of the Nation included art, performance, articles, research, film and much more.
Thank you to the Museum of Homelessness and the Healthy London Partnership for your collaboration on this project.