Homelessness

Health and Social Care – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th June 2018.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow 12:00 am, 19th June 2018

What steps he is taking to ensure that homeless people are able to access healthcare and dentistry services.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

NHS England has a legal duty to commission services to meet local need, which includes people who are homeless, and we are very clear that a patient should not be turned away from a GP if they cannot produce any supporting documentation. If they state that they reside within the boundaries for the practice, the GP is expected to accept the registration. The same applies for dentistry, and training is in place to remind people of their obligations.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

Mags Drummond is a Walthamstow woman on a mission, to try to help our many rough sleepers get decent quality healthcare, but she, like me, has hit a brick wall with our local dentists and doctors. It is little wonder that one study shows that 15% of homeless people have pulled out their own teeth because they cannot get access to services. Will the Minister meet Mags and me to look at what we can do to change that and make sure that her promises are not toothless?

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Very good—I commend the hon. Lady for her wit, and I agree with her. Notwithstanding our expectations of GPs and dentists in this regard, it is quite clear that homeless people do not always have access to the treatment they should have. The hon. Lady will be aware of the work that we are doing to support rough sleepers, and I would be delighted to meet her and Mags Drummond to see what insight they can provide on how we can improve services in this area.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

There are homeless people in the Scunthorpe area who present with mental health problems. What are the Government doing to ensure that proper mental health support is there for people who present as homeless?

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The hon. Gentleman is quite right. Mental health is both a symptom and a cause of homelessness, and we will tackle that as part of our work on rough sleepers.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Does anyone else want to come in on this? Apparently not. I do not wish to proceed to the next question because of the unpredictability of the time that it will take. Colleagues will want to prepare themselves for the one-minute silence that we are about to observe. I think I can say with some confidence that everyone who is in the House today will wish to observe that one-minute silence. Perhaps they will think it appropriate to stand. That one-minute silence is going to start very soon. The next question is grouped, so it would be highly inconvenient to take it. Any moment now we shall observe the silence. [Interruption.] There is much merit in repetition in certain circumstances.

Order. We shall now observe silence for one minute to remember those who died or were affected by the attack outside Finsbury Park mosque, I remind colleagues, a year ago today.

The House observed a minute’s silence.