On 24 June 2019, the Pathway Homeless Team based at The Royal London Hospital heard that they are the Regional Winner in The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award category, one of ten NHS Parliamentary Awards.
The Pathway Homeless team is part of the Health E1 Homeless Medical Centre in Brick Lane in Aldgate. The practice registers rough sleepers and people in temporary or insecure housing in Tower Hamlets.
The Pathway Team are based at The Royal London Hospital and has the ultimate aim of ensuring homeless people cared for by the hospital do not get discharged back to the street, but instead are found other options for housing, healthcare and ongoing support in the community. When an individual admitted to hospital and is ready to leave, the team will work to arrange a smooth discharge to a safe place.
Dr Peter Buchman who leads the team is delighted with the award. He said,
“All our team are thrilled to have won the regional award and to be shortlisted for the national award. Personally, I am delighted to have acknowledged the importance of empowering and supporting the most vulnerable in our society. It recognises that homelessness is not simply lack of a roof but a health problem and needs to be recognised as such if we are to improve the well-being and quality of life of these people. It is also terrific that the hard work of our small team has been recognised and celebrated in this way.”
People who are homeless often have a complex mix of physical health problems, and can also be living with mental health and addiction problems. Once discharged from hospital, many will quickly deteriorate and be readmitted to hospital due to difficulty accessing care and support. However, the Pathway team are improving this by working closely with colleagues both inside and outside the hospital to improve communication between professionals and to advocate for this vulnerable group.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who represents Poplar and Limehouse, nominated the team. He said, "I am absolutely delighted that the Pathway Homeless Team? are the regional winners in the Parliamentary Awards. This is well-deserved and a great example of joint working between ELFT, Barts Health and the Clinical Commissioning Group to truly support homeless people who are among the most vulnerable in Tower Hamlets. Congratulations to everyone involved."
The Parliamentary Awards were launched in March. MPs from across the country were asked to nominate individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies, across ten categories.