Alleviating poverty, bringing hope

Homeless people in Luton to receive flu vaccinations

A project to help homeless people in Luton receive flu vaccinations commences this week, when a team of health care professionals join forces to hold flu prevention drop-in clinics at a welfare centre for the homeless.

Following the success of last year’s flu prevention clinics, this year’s drop-in sessions are being held at the NOAH Welfare Shelter in Luton on 6 and 20 November from 9am to 4pm. A GP will be on site from 11.30am to 3.00pm.

Nurses from Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) are administering the flu vaccinations as part of the weekly overall mini health assessment given to homeless people which is provided by nurses and GPs from the Larkside Practice. These services are commissioned by NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG).

Together the three organisations aim to help prevent the most vulnerable people who live on the streets of the town, from contracting a serious illness over the winter period.

Dr Chirag Bakhai, GP and Luton CCG’s Clinical Director for Planned Care, said: “When the weather turns cold, the consequences can be potentially life threatening for Luton’s homeless. By working closely together our health professionals and local organisations we can offer our vulnerable homeless population flu vaccinations along with their weekly health assessments, which will help towards protecting their health this winter.”

Linda Sharkey, Service Director of CCS, said: “Last year I had the flu and it was awful – but I was in a warm comfortable home with support. It would be unimaginable for the majority of us to consider being ill and being homeless. We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in Luton and will be also running our annual ‘warm coats’ scheme to support homeless people.”

Paul Prosser, Welfare Services Manager at NOAH Enterprise, said: “‘NOAH seeks to alleviate poverty for the most disadvantaged people in society. Facilitating access to primary healthcare such as flu vaccinations can reduce emergency admissions and is often the start of a journey of recovery which can help people move away from homelessness into sustainable living’