Our new mobile clinic was launched today! It will enable the HealthBus Trust to deliver healthcare at the point of need to people experiencing homelessness. The new purpose-built vehicle with two well equipped consultation rooms is the result of months of fundraising and generous donations from individuals, commercial organisations and charitable trusts.
One of the HealthBus clients, Gary, together with Martin, a HealthBus volunteer, cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new vehicle at St Stephen’s church this afternoon. Dr Maggie Kirk GP, Founder of the HealthBus Trust charity, Councillor Nigel Hedges, Chair of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, Angus Campbell, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dorset and Patron of the charity, and Chris Wakefield, a trustee and former local councillor were among those present.
Speaking to the assembled guests, Chris Wakefield pointed out that the HealthBus concept was initially developed by Dr Maggie Kirk five years ago in response to an unmet need for specialist GP services for people living on the streets.
As a result, hundreds of people have been helped by the service which has now grown to three surgeries per week. In addition, 260 Covid-19 vaccines have been given to people experiencing homelessness.
Dr Maggie Kirk said, “It’s important that our clients feel valued and are able to benefit from healthcare wherever they’re accommodated.”
Angus Campbell spoke of the difficulty people without a firm base have in accessing healthcare services. He congratulated all involved in nurturing the HealthBus idea and hoped that others would follow its example.
We were also delighted that Pat Nightingale, sister of Kevin, one the first and most inspirational HealthBus clients, was also present at the ceremony. Kevin sadly died living on the streets several years ago and the family’s generous donation in Kevin’s memory also helped fund the new vehicle.
“We’re grateful to all the people who support the homeless in the Bournemouth area and for providing them with healthcare,” said Mrs Nightingale. “We’re so pleased they were able to raise enough for a new ‘bus’.”
During the first COVID-19 lockdown, the hired bus being used to deliver the HealthBus service became unsuitable for face-to-face consultations. To raise funds for a purpose-built mobile clinic, the ‘Get Back on the Road’ fundraising campaign was launched and this, together with generous donations from individuals and organisations including AFC Bournemouth and the Talbot Village Trust, enabled us to meet the £60,000 target last December.
It’s difficult for people experiencing homelessness to access healthcare for many reasons. The HealthBus team offers specialist GP and medical services, working in partnership with other service providers, such as addiction and mental health specialists, to help clients find the support they need to move on in life.
Media coverage of our new mobile clinic launch
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