Doctor's pride as homeless health clinic marks anniversary

A doctor told of how rewarding it has been to support homeless people after a year of running a special clinic.

Staff, medics and service users celebrate a year of the Shrewsbury Ark healthcare clinic
Staff, medics and service users celebrate a year of the Shrewsbury Ark healthcare clinic

Shrewsbury Ark has held a walk-in clinic in partnership with Riverside Medical Practice for the last 12 months to provide service users with a supportive environment for their health needs.

Dr Nicola Roberts, of Riverside Medical Practice, set it up with the support of the Ark's manager Wendy Faulkner, who helped get a consultation room ready.

Dr Roberts felt compelled to help after seeing pharmacies charging £9 for flu jabs, and thought how difficult it must be for people on the streets to protect themselves from illness.

The clinic got up and running last summer, and Dr Roberts said: "By September I’d done 12 weeks of clinics at the Ark in our small but beautiful room. I was busier every week and was seeing people that hadn’t seen a doctor for years.

"I was able to start treatments for physical and mental health, as well as link up with other services such as Shropshire Recovery Partnership and housing. We were building up our expertise, with regular advice from Dylan Roberts (mental health advanced nurse practitioner) and Dr Sam O’Connor joined the team in September so that the outreach clinics can run every week.

"The clinic is definitely my favourite day of the week: they are often chaos with no real timings, but I’m able to listen and advocate for the patients, which is really humbling.

"The difference you can see when you listen, treat them respectfully and then do your best to help is so rewarding. This week one lady was telling me about getting accommodation; sharing in these moments is just fantastic."

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