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Bury has become the first borough in Britain to guarantee that homeless people will receive the often urgent medical attention they require. Rough sleepers, sofa-surfers and others without a permanent home have told successive surveys that they have been denied healthcare at surgeries because they cannot produce a permanent address. This has led to some suffering in silence or receiving expensive attention at A&E. But, thanks to a new initiative launched by Homeless-Friendly and Bury Council, homeless people will be given a card advertising a number for BARDOC. The out-of-hours service will be able to find the appropriate treatment 24/7, and also signpost the homeless to organisations that can help them with housing, training and even curbing addiction.

The initiative was inspired by Councillor Andrea Simpson, deputy leader of Bury Council, who as a medical practice manager experienced first-hand the challenges homeless people faced accessing medical help. Cllr Simpson linked up with Homeless Friendly founder, Dr Zahid Chauhan, to seek a solution. “The deep-rooted nature of homelessness means there are no quick and easy solutions, and it’s a myth that people need a permanent address to access medical help, but a dangerous myth as people believe it.” Said Cllr Simpson. “We need to make it easier for these vulnerable people in our society to get the help they require when they need it. “By launching this new card scheme, we are taking positive steps forward to address one of the issues homeless people face.



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