Groundswell are working with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership to deliver #HealthNow research in Wakefield, Calderdale and Kirklees.
Everyone has the right to healthcare when they need it. But we know that people experiencing homelessness in this region often come up against barriers that restrict their access to health support.
Often this means they don’t get healthcare until they reach crisis point, when they need emergency interventions. We want to dig into why this is and how it can be solved.
Our aims and plan
It’s not right that anyone in our society comes up against these barriers. We all depend on public services for support and our systems should work for and include everyone.
So our research aims are:
- To find out from people experiencing homelessness what is and is not working for them within the current health systems in West Yorkshire.
- To understand how local health systems could be redesigned to work better for everyone.
- To empower local people experiencing homelessness with knowledge of their right to healthcare and ways they can influence how health systems are redesigned.
We believe that the best way to do that is to hear directly from those with experience of homelessness.
We need to understand:
- The health needs of local people facing the pressures of homelessness
- Both what’s working and what the barriers are that restrict their right to access health services
- What their experiences are of using those services
To do this, we will:
- Recruit research participants with experience of any kind of homelessness across the region
- Carry out interviews using a mixture of closed survey questions and open, qualitative questions
- Analyse the interview data in collaboration with local peers and stakeholders
Collecting this information will be an important step in understanding health inequalities in West Yorkshire, but it’s important that the project is about more than just gaining knowledge and that it leads to clear actions.
Links with other #HealthNow work
Peer-led #HealthNow research in Birmingham, Greater Manchester and Newcastle has provided crucial insights into some of the barriers to accessing health care and treatment faced by people experiencing homelessness.
The introduction of #HealthNow Alliances and Homeless Health Peer Advocacy services in those cities has provided a unique opportunity for people affected by homelessness to make sure that research findings are made into concrete action plans for reducing health inequalities and designing better services.
#HealthNow research in West Yorkshire is a smaller project, but it’s no less important that its findings turn into tangible actions for positive change.
An important goal for this research is to help local people experiencing homelessness to understand their rights to healthcare and to use that knowledge to influence new ways of developing and improving health services.
Meet Dan Bleksley, Project Officer
“What’s really great about this project is that it’s an opportunity to ensure so many of the people we really need to hear from – the people coming up against huge barriers to their right to healthcare – have a voice. It feels a genuinely collaborative way to understand and reduce health inequalities, and ultimately build better systems that work for everyone. ”
Dan’s top priorities are:
- Reaching as many of the diverse groups of people affected by the pressures of homelessness in West Yorkshire as possible.
- Sharing learning about the benefits of a peer-led approach with local health and homelessness services.
- Helping to improve trust and confidence in health services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping.
- Enabling people experiencing homelessness to play a key part in designing inclusive health services.