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Healthwatch Lancashire report represents the views of the homeless or people living in deprivation when it comes to using health services

Results of a Healthwatch Lancashire community engagement report has been published summarising views of 99 people who are homeless or living in deprivation showing that most people turn to local voluntary organisations and groups as they do not receive support from council and NHS organisations.

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Healthwatch Lancashire undertook a study to listen to the experiences of people across Lancashire who are homeless or living in poverty working with 18 organisations which support people in our communities such as the Salvation Army, Millbank Court in Preston, The Olive Branch in Lancaster and a number of local foodbanks.

The report shows that 20% of people said that they felt their physical health was poor but a greater number (31%) said their emotional health was poor.

Nearly a quarter of people said that they did not feel listened to the last time they visited a health service and many cited issues with rude receptionists, difficulties registering with services and long waiting times when being referred to services.

In addition, nearly a quarter of people said that their health is not important to them because they are too worried about personal circumstances and where they will access food and accommodation.

One respondent said: “I admit that I smell and look scruffy, however, this should not be an issue for the reception staff when booking me in.”

Another said: “I could definitely do with more support rather than being ignored and being sent to anybody and everybody.”

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Healthwatch Lancashire is here to represent all members of our community, including those who are not given the opportunity to be heard, and this project was an opportunity to listen to the views of vulnerable people in our community.

“By reading this report, those who manage and run health services can learn how their services should and ought to be improved to enable access for those who currently find it difficult.”

The full report ‘Listening to those who are homeless and living in deprivation in Lancashire’ is available to read and download from the Healthwatch Lancashire website at www.healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports