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Homeless People

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what is his estimate of the numbers and proportion of homeless people currently not registered with any general practitioner;(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that homeless people are accepted on to general practitioners' lists under the terms of the new general practitioner's contract.

It is not possible to make reliable estimates of the numbers involved. Everyone entitled to NHS treatment has the right to be registered with a doctor in their locality. In cases where people, such as the homeless, are unable to find a doctor to accept them, the local family practitioner committee has power to assign them to a particular doctor's list. In addition two pilot projects have been undertaken in London to improve access by homeless people to primary health care services. We are establishing permanent arrangements in these areas and considering ways to extend them to other inner city FPCs.