Bonnie Wingfield was recently highly commended at the Barts Health Heroes awards for the initiative she took in helping a homeless patient find a place to stay. Bonnie works in Site Operations at Whipps Cross Hospital and we spoke to her about her heart-warming story.
Bonnie had picked up an extra shift in the Emergency Department and, on this occasion, said she “noticed a man who had regularly been coming to A&E and wanted to find out more about how I could help him. I offered him a hot drink and a biscuit and I got talking to him. He told me he was sleeping rough and shared his story with me about how he came to be in this situation.
“His story moved me to do what I could to help him find a place to stay, so I searched for homeless shelters and I came across something called Streetlink. This is an initiative that enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with local services that can support them, in the hopes of ending homelessness.
“I called Streetlink whilst the patient waited and they asked me for his description and where he was sleeping. I received an email saying that they were looking to secure accommodation for him.
“A couple of weeks later I received a thank you note from Streetlink sharing that they had followed up on the referral and they were pleased to say that this homeless person was now linked with a hostel through which permanent accommodation can be sourced. It was such a relief to know that I had helped him and he no longer needed to sleep on the streets, and all it took was a quick phone call.
“I have since contacted Streetlink for several people and all you need to do is fill in an online referral form that takes a couple of minutes.
“I hope that my story can make more people aware of how easy it is to find someone a warm bed and a roof over their head, it’s the least anyone deserves.”
Bonnie said of being highly commended at Barts Health Heroes: “I am honoured to of been nominated especially as this is not my remit of work on a daily basis”.”
Treating patients with dignity, respect and equity is at the heart of our Barts Health values and this small intervention spending just a few extra minutes listening to a patient means that Bonnie has completely changed someone’s life.
Visit the Streetlink website to find out how you can help people who are sleeping rough.